AFL can be a tough game, we all know that. Years and years are spent by the players improving skills in order to make an impact on the AFL landscape.
Childhoods are sacrificed, friends are lost and rivals are made, but it all becomes worthwhile once the dream of AFL becomes a reality.
We don’t mean to sound harsh, but week after week we a treated to a comedic catalogue of errors, and it forces us to ask, was all that dedication and sacrifice really worth it?
Sam Lonergan, Essendon
With the ANZAC Day game entering time-on in the last quarter, Collingwood held a shaky seven point lead, and the ball was inside the Bombers’ forward 50.
It was a golden opportunity to score, and the fact Lonergan didn’t capitalise is something that is still baffling us.
After some brilliant ruckwork, Lonergan found himself in possession of the ball, in space and only 20 metres out directly in front of goal.
From afar it appeared to be the simplest of shots, as Lonergan did not seem to be under any sort of pressure, but obviously this was not the case.
It’s impossible to say that Lonergan’s missed opportunity cost the Bombers the match, but it certainly didn’t help the situation so late in the game.
Troy Chaplin, Port Adelaide
As Port Adelaide fought to regain the lead in Showdown 32 against cross town rivals Adelaide, Chaplin was guilty of a critical error which gift-wrapped the Crows a goal as the Power were desperate to fight back on the scoreboard.
Finding themselves 20 points adrift, Chaplin marked a kick in from Hamish Hartlett 30 metres out from the Crows goal, and was faced with the following conundrum.
Pass it to a teammate down the line, or put all the pressure back on Hartlett, who was running toward two Adelaide players who were intent on locking the ball inside the Crows forward 50.
Since this column is called ‘Blunders of the Week’ for a reason, Chaplin obviously decided to ask the impossible of Hartlett.
Hartlett slipped and fell as he attempted to avoid the Crow tacklers, but it was to no avail as Jared Petrenko took advantage of the situation and extended the lead to 26 points.
When you consider that Port Adelaide kicked six of the next seven goals to lead at the final break, the early goal from Petrenko thanks to this Chaplin error was critical in deciding the winner of the local derby.
The Goal Umpires, Melbourne vs St Kilda
I understand with technology available to determine difficult decisions that often the best and safest option is to simply refer a questionable call to the emergency umpire.
But surely we need goal umpires that are able to make the simplest adjudications when the time calls for it?
On two occasions the goal umpires hilariously signalled goals when it was clear to everybody else that a point had been scored.
The first, Nick Dal Santo in the opening quarter. Dal Santo was streaming into an open goal, and somehow missed the easiest of shots. Dal Santo would have appeared in the ‘Blunders’ column if it weren’t for what transpired next.
The goal umpire signalled goal, and the central umpire was forced to refer the decision. It became farcical as Dal Santo himself admitted the shot had missed to the umpire, yet still the referral process had to be completed.
Making things more ridiculous, in the second quarter, Stephen Milne, searching for goal number 500, attempted a soccer off the ground from only 10 metres out.
The wet conditions obviously effected the kick, causing it to roll through for a point, and Melbourne quickly moved the ball out of defence from the kick in.
Or they would have, if the goal umpire had not once again signalled a goal.
Once more the umpire had to stop play and ask for a review despite 99 percent of viewers clearly seeing a behind.
Umpiring from all positions is a difficult job, so we don’t want to be worrying about the most basic of laws being upheld correctly by the umpires.
Because if they can’t tell whether those shots were behinds or not, what hope do we have of, for example, the advantage rule being judged correctly on a weekly basis?
Scott Watters, St Kilda
For the first time since the sub rule was introduced, the decision to substitute a player was met with audible ‘boos’ from the MCG crowd on Saturday Night.
The reason? He had chosen to remove the leading goal kicker, Beau Wilkes, and it had just so happened that Wilkes had taken a ‘speccy’ only seconds prior to his substitution.
In a night where goals were tough to come by, to remove Wilkes who had looked comfortable shooting for goal (kicking three and narrowly missing a fourth) was a weird decision to say the least.
It was made all the more strange by Watters’ three-quarter time explanation, in which he told viewers that Wilkes had a slight ‘tweak’.
Wilkes naturally looked ropeable on the sidelines, a reasonable reaction when your dream AFL return has been cut short by a red vest.
Maybe Watters panicked under the national spotlight, as his story mysteriously changed in the post match press conference, and the truth emerged; Watters and St Kilda had simply made a mistake.
It is arguable that Watters became vindicated when St Kilda finished the match victorious, but we’re not sure.
Wilkes probably deserves a full match next time he’s selected at least.
Hero of the Week
For his wonderful satirical goal celebration, Dane Swan becomes Round 5’s Hero of the Week.
After weeks of speculation from the media over whether Swan had been carrying a few extra kilos, Swan put all doubts to rest and showed the world by rubbing his stomach in glorious celebration.
Swan’s game was magnificent, as he feasted upon the Bomber’s midfield with 42 disposals, including 20 contested.
The icing on the cake was his three goals, all coming at pivotal times of a match that was decided by one point.
Let’s hope Swan continues to react to criticism in such a fashion, as when he’s firing, he is one of the best in the competition.
Seen a blunder that deserves a mention? Let the BigFootyNews Team know in the comments below!