AFL football boss Laura Kane concedes Fremantle Dockers robbed by incorrect umpire call

Mitchell Woodcock
The Nightly
2 Min Read
The AFL's Laura Kane admits the ball was touched in their conroversial finish to Carlton.
The AFL's Laura Kane admits the ball was touched in their conroversial finish to Carlton. Credit: The West Australian

AFL football boss Laura Kane has conceded the umpires “missed” the touched ball which robbed Fremantle of an undefeated start to the 2024 season.

Dockers players and fans were left fuming after the umpires missed a touched ball off the boot of Carlton’s George Hewett which landed in the arms of teammate Matt Cottrell late in their controversial loss at Adelaide Oval on Saturday.

Cottrell would kick the goal to put the Blues in front with about 40 seconds to go in the game, as Fremantle players pleaded with the umpire that defender James Aish had touched the ball, with replays showing it hit his right arm as it went past.

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The umpires then awarded then awarded another free kick to Carlton, this time Matt Kennedy, for umpire dissent, with the Blue putting the win beyond doubt.

On Sunday morning, AFL executive general manager Laura Kane spoke for the first time about the incident, conceding Aish had touched the ball.

“It was touched. The umpires missed that one,” Kane told Offsiders.

“As you see there with the replay, super slowmo, multiple different angles, different positioning of the cameras to where our umpires were positioned and it’s a tricky game to officiate, so they’ve missed that one but we can see clearly on the replay that it was touched.”

Kane also explained the free kick for umpire dissent, confirming it was against Dockers defender Jordan Clark who swore at an umpire.

“The rule is that the free kick after a goal is paid from the middle of the ground or where the free kick or the incident occurs, whatever is more disadvantageous to the offending team in this case Fremantle,” she said.

“We’ve been strong on dissent. We’ve been clear. We don’t see it often because players aren’t doing it and that’s a good thing.

“You can’t swear at umpires, it’s a rule but we don’t want to see that kind of behaviour.

“We’re comfortable with the dissent free kick being paid. It’s language I can’t use at 9am in the morning on Sunday on live TV.

Kane said any abuse would not be tolerated regardless of the call.
Kane said any abuse would not be tolerated regardless of the call. Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty Images

“It is not appropriate we don’t want to see it and we’re comfortable with that second free kick being paid for dissent.”

Kane denied the AFL should use a review system for controversial decisions such as that.

“We always look at how technology can aid our game, how it can aid scoring, how it can aid officiating but the apprehension we have around officiating the game with cameras and with technology is how long it takes,” she said.

“We get feedback all the time around score review. We’ve spend a lot of time trying to make sure score reviews are decided under 10 seconds and at the moment we don’t a decision being reviewed on field every couple of minutes.”

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