Port Adelaide’s win over Geelong in their AFL qualifying final has been overshadowed by controversy surrounding the standard of umpiring.
Steven Motlop kicked three goals as Port recorded a 16-point win over Geelong on Thursday night.
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The Power prevailed 9.4 (58) to 5.12 (42) at Adelaide Oval to secure a home preliminary final, continuing the Cats’ misery in finals.
While the standard of play had fans on the edge of their seats, the standard of umpiring left many seeing red.
A number of decisions confused both teams, with Geelong coach Chris Scott having words with the officials at half-time.
Scott could be seen yelling at umpire Ray Chamberlain, appearing to question why he was doing the centre bounces.
Chamberlain was performing each bounce from slightly left of the centre circle and wasn’t getting much height.
“You look at the position where the ball is actually being bounced,” Essendon great Jobe Watson said in commentary.
“The idea is you have a centre circle and both players get an even opportunity because the ball is getting bounced in the middle of the circle.
“If you take it to one side, you immediately disadvantage one of the teams, and so for equity if you can’t get it to bounce high in the middle, then the most sensible thing to do is to throw it up.”
Chris Scott was fuming at the umpires at half-time over the ball bounce 👀 pic.twitter.com/Ip7CGGFFjk— 7AFL (@7AFL) October 1, 2020
Scott said he was merely enquiring about which umpire was bouncing the ball, rather than questioning their decision-making.
However other commentators and fans did.
“The “if you know who’s umpiring, he’s probably doing a bad job” rule in full effect tonight,” Richard Hinds wrote on Twitter.
Others described the umpiring as “embarrassing” and “awful”.
these are 3 of the best 12 umpires we have in the game... #AFLFinals— Corbin Middlemas (@CorbinMiddlemas) October 1, 2020
The “if you know who’s umpiring, he’s probably doing a bad job” rule in full effect tonight.#AFLPowerCats— Richard Hinds (@rdhinds) October 1, 2020
One of the best tackles you’ll see from a key forward and they give it in the back! 🤷♂️ #AFLPowerCats— Rob Cornthwaite (@robcornthwaite) October 1, 2020
This has been the worst umpiring display this yr by the length of the Flemington straight! #AFLPowerCats— John Takemura (@takaspeaksout) October 1, 2020
This umpiring seriously is the worst it’s been all year. Razor zip it mate. #AFLPowerCats— Candice (@candicespag) October 1, 2020
This umpiring is embarrassing, get control of the game #AFLPowerCats— Carlo Armiento (@armiento11) October 1, 2020
Geelong facing sudden death clash
Geelong are now tossed into sudden-death mode: a semi-final awaits against the winner of Saturday night's elimination final between West Coast and Collingwood.
Ex-Cat Motlop tormented his former side, kicking goals with his initial three kicks in a brutal final which Port cracked open in the third term.
After leading by one-point at half-time, the Power slotted three goals in a match-defining 15-minute burst which created a 19-point advantage.
The nearest Geelong crept thereafter was seven points early in the last quarter.
“We were pretty ruthless in the third quarter when we got a little bit of a gap on them,” Port coach Ken Hinkley said after his club's first finals win since 2014.
“We dominated that quarter ... and in finals it's a big margin when you get to 14 or 15 points up because you know how hard it is to score.”
Port were superbly served by a battle-hardened core of Ollie Wines (24 disposals), Travis Boak (22), Tom Rockliff (22), Robbie Gray (17), Ebert (16, two goals) and Hamish Hartlett (15).
Geelong's Coleman medallist Tom Hawkins was goal-less and wayward, kicking 0.5 - a year after he kicked 0.4 in a qualifying final loss to Collingwood.
“We could have played better, there's no doubt about that, and Port were good,” Scott said.
“They deserved their win but I didn't think we were without our chances.”
Ruckman Rhys Stanley scored two majors while Brandan Parfitt (16 disposals), Brownlow medallist Patrick Dangerfield (22 touches, one goal), Mitch Duncan (19 possessions) and Sam Menegola (18 touches) had prominent patches.
But their feats weren’t enough to stop the Cats sliding to a 12th loss from their past 16 finals.
Port’s victory came at a cost with winger Xavier Duursma knocked out and young forward Todd Marshall hurting a shoulder.
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