McLachlan backs updated AFL review system for finals

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan is confident updates to the league’s ARC system will ensure a repeat of the recent goal review howler is avoided during the finals series.

Adelaide missed out on a top-eight berth after Ben Keays was controversially denied what could have been the match-winning goal in a narrow round-23 defeat to Sydney.

Keays’ shot was incorrectly judged to have brushed the post and the goal umpire’s decision would have been overturned, but a review was not called at the time.

The Crows ultimately finished 10th, while the Swans secured eighth spot and will meet Carlton in an elimination final at the MCG on Friday night.

The AFL has since added an extra supervisor to work in the ARC throughout the finals series.

“It was a mistake that had brutal consequences but we’ve reviewed every part of that,” McLachlan said at the AFL finals launch on Monday.

“It was a set of circumstances that are hard to mitigate against.

“We’ve made a change for the finals where there will be two score reviewers in the ARC with a very definitive mandate for one of them to stop (the game) if there’s any risk.

“I feel it’s in good shape.”

The goal umpire at the centre of the Adelaide-Sydney controversy was stood down for round 24.

“Whatever (shape) the accountability took, I don’t think the goal umpire was going to be in a position to be umpiring regardless,” McLachlan said.

“People expect support and he has had endless support – I spoke to him and he’s had people treating him – but I think people also expect accountability.

“That’s what it is. You can support an individual and hold accountabilities, and I’m very confident in all that as well.”

McLachlan also backed the pre-finals bye as debate continues around whether the week off should be moved to sit immediately before the grand final.

A key reason behind calls for the move is that players entering tightened concussion protocols after preliminary finals will not be available for the season decider under the current schedule.

“Basically all of our record attended and (TV) rated finals series have been post the bye because the footy is so good, players are back and fit, and everyone feels they can compete,” McLachlan said.

“It also deals with (clubs) not having to rest players leading into it … I think it works now but it’s a really fair and good debate, and it’s part of footy.”

McLachlan said a future decision on the pre-finals bye will be one for incoming chief executive Andrew Dillon and his team

Having taken over as AFL CEO in 2014, McLachlan will step down at the end of this season.


Shayne Hope
(Australian Associated Press)


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