AFL referee dissent rule: Jeremy McGovern escapes, football fans react

Football fans continue to question controversial new rules on referee dissent as an Eagles star appeared to escape punishment.

The AFL’s controversial stance against referee dissent caused further uproar on Sunday when Jeremy McGovern escaped punishment despite appearing to visibly disagree with an official’s call.

The Eagles defender was recalled after scoring inside 50 during Melbourne’s 16.16(112) to 5.8(38) win over West Coast, then was penalized for deliberately taking Sherrin out with his hand. the limits when Christian Petracca made a tackle.

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McGovern was furious, adamant that he should have been given a 50-yard free kick because Petracca went off the mark. The referees disagreed and McGovern verbally expressed his feelings, and also waved his arms to drive home his point.

The AFL has decided that any disagreement with the referees will result in a 50-meter free kick this season. Even extending an arm counts as dissent in 2022, causing a lot of angst in the world of football.

But McGovern wasn’t punished further, leading some to wonder why there was so much inconsistency, especially after Collingwood’s Jordan De Goey was penalized earlier in the weekend, even as he tried his best to control his emotions.

Fox Footy commentator Kelli Underwood asked, “Is this the definition of dissent? He’s frustrated.”

His fellow commentators agreed that McGovern should have been paid for a 50-meter free kick because Petracca missed it and punters on social media were also dumbfounded.

AFL reporter Mark Stevens tweeted: “One call howler, but McGovern didn’t disagree? What????

Garrett Mundy wrote: “Insane arbitration. Petracca not on the mark. Deliberate is fine. And then McGovern said he can’t stand his ground. Mental.”

Anna Lanning said: “The time to bring a Captains Challenge @AFL can’t be to have decisions like that against McGovern.”

Sam Tomlin added: “Unfortunate original call, but unfortunately McGovern followed up with a clear violation of the hurt feelings rule.”

After the game, coach Adam Simpson called on West Coast fans to stay with the club as he continues to work through probably the most difficult period in its history.

The Eagles lost their eighth game of the season on Sunday night, the fifth in a row by a margin of more than 10 goals.

In fact, his last five losses have averaged 81 points; after beating Collingwood by 13 points at the MCG in Round 4. Every opposition over those five weeks has scored 105 points or more.

Only 27,488 fans showed up on Sunday, although there were reports of problems with Perth’s main railway station on Sunday afternoon.

In consecutive weeks, the Eagles have played the top four, Melbourne and Brisbane, and Simpson hopes his fans will see the improvement he can see regardless of the final results.

“I really hope our fans will support us through tough times,” Simpson said after the 74-point loss to the Demons; the Eagles have all the lowest scores at home.

“We really appreciate your support. I know it’s been disappointing so far this year, but we like your support, we appreciate the crowd.

“We are here to win, don’t worry about it.

“Although they surprised us late, we had some small wins throughout the day. We lost (Josh Kennedy) at the end of the week; it was our youngest team for a long time and we saw some growth.

“Second quarter, supply, front-half turnovers, competition, pressure, tackles — all the things our fans want to see. If you don’t win, they want to see effort.

“It sounds a bit silly, we lost by a pretty big margin, but just like last week I thought the effort was there.”

With Brad Elborough, NCA News Wire

Originally published as ‘What?’: More confusion over AFL dissent rule as star escapes punishment

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