AFL fans and commentators erupted in anger on Saturday over what many labelled the worst umpiring decision of the season.
Port Adelaide fans threatened to “tear the place down” at Adelaide Oval after back-to-back umpiring howlers cost them against Richmond.
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Early in the tense encounter, Richmond’s Jack Riewoldt was awarded a free kick for what the umpire deemed interference from Port defender Tom Clurey.
However Dustin Martin had clearly shoved Clurey into Riewoldt, causing the collision.
Port Adelaide fans exploded in anger as Riewoldt kicked the ensuing goal, and commentators couldn’t help but agree.
“Oh, I thought it was a free kick against Dustin Martin,” Dwayne Russell said on Fox Footy.
“He gave one of the best shoves you’ve ever seen, Dustin Martin … this is an extraordinary decision.
“That’s a horrible decision, just a horrible decision.”
Port fans felt they were dudded again moments later when Riewoldt appeared to get away with holding the ball, only for Martin to play on and kick another goal.
“They are going berserk over there at Adelaide Oval,” Eddie McGuire said on Fox Footy.
“It’s madness over there. Twice in a row now, Port Adelaide … have been absolutely murdered by the umpiring.”
Fans and commentators also took to social media to slam the standard of umpiring.
“Is Dustin Martin the most protected player in the game? What a farce. That is an absolute disgrace,” sports journalist Jack Hudson tweeted.
Sydney Swans champion Jude Bolton posted: “Port fans sounding like they will torch the Adelaide Oval with the umpiring going against them inside the lie defensive 50.”
Journalist Craig Cook posted: “The umpiring is the biggest story of the AFL 2020 season - beyond inept.
“Teams should be allowed a video review for a shocking decision like that one with the Martin push.”
Footy legend Graham Cornes wrote: “Port Adelaide definitely shafted by three incomprehensible decisions or maybe that’s non-decisions”, while journo Vince Rugari labelled it an “absolute stitch up”.
Seriously though, is Dustin Martin the most protected player in the game? What a farce. #AFLPowerTigers— Jack Hudson (@jhudson_10) August 8, 2020
Port fans sounding like they will torch the Adelaide Oval with the umpiring going against them inside the lie defensive 50.#AFLPowerTigers— Jude Bolton (@Jude_Bolton) August 8, 2020
Port overcome umpiring dramas to win
For six months, the question hung like thick fog over Port Adelaide: are they the real AFL deal?
In one hour of intense footy action on Saturday, the Power emphatically answered by toppling reigning premiers Richmond by 21 points.
The Adelaide Oval triumph solidifies Port's position at the top of the ladder - a position they have held since after the opening round in March.
And the 13.15 (93) to 11.6 (72) win removes any query over Port's credentials - though coach Ken Hinkley couldn't give two hoots.
“I don't care. We don't care,” Hinkley said of the 'real deal' question.
“We care about performance and being consistent.
“We're 11 games in. We're sitting on top of the ladder with a game (win) clear, with the best percentage in the competition.
“It takes a lot to earn that. And we have been able to keep at it and keep earning.
“We haven't played perfect footy ... and we have still got six (matches) to go and we have got keep going, that is the challenge.”