AFL world in uproar over league's explanation of Collingwood and North Melbourne controversy

Laure Kane's explanation has been savaged around the AFL world.

Laura Kane is copping backlash around the AFL world after the league's football boss attempted to explain the controversial call the dudded North Melbourne in their loss to Collingwood. AFL fans and commentators were crying foul on Sunday when Bailey Scott wasn't awarded a 50m penalty in the dying seconds despite two Collingwood players running over the mark.

Scott took a mark and appeared to play on, but the umpire's whistle never came and Steele Sidebottom and Beau McCreery both ran towards him and over the mark. Because the umpire didn't call play-on it should have been a 50m penalty, which would have given Scott a golden chance to kick the match-winning goal.

Laura Kane alongside Collingwood players.
Laura Kane has provided an explanation for the call that helped Collingwood beat North Melbourne. Image: Getty

But the umpire swallowed the whistle and allowed play to continue, and the Kangaroos lost by a point. On Monday afternoon, Kane attempted to provide an explanation for the incident and made the staggering call that a mistake was made, but not in the umpiring decision that many people think should have happened.

Kane said the crucial error was in what the umpire did immediately after Scott took the mark. "It was a confusing situation and I understand why people ... are left wanting to understand what happened," she said.

"One of two calls could be made - it could be 'play on' immediately, or it could be 'stand', which would indicate the mark had been paid. Neither of those two calls occurred in the immediate moments after the whistle was blown and Bailey takes four steps or so inbound, and looks to play on.

"The correct call should have been 'play on' initially - that has caused confusion for the players in the immediate vicinity, being the Collingwood players, that there was a delay. The communication was the error, I guess."

Kane said if the umpire had called 'stand' straight away and the two Collingwood players had encroached on Scott, then it would have been a 50m penalty. "The initial mistake, if you like, is that 'play-on' wasn't called," she said on the AFL website. "'What's next didn't come quick enough ... every objective marker of 'play on' was there."

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But Kane's refusal to admit the Kangaroos should have been awarded a 50m penalty caused widespread disbelief. On AFL 360, Gerard Whateley argued: “That is an instantly recognisable and automatic 50m penalty, every single time it happens."

Co-Host Mark Robinson was equally as angry, saying: “Everyone knows that, except Laura Kane and the AFL. This is going to sound disrespectful – and I don’t want it to be disrespectful – but how can Laura possibly put that explanation out, and think that the football public will say ‘Yeah, nah fine – fully agree, that’s understandable’.

“That’s codswallop, the football public is being treated like children, absolute children. We knew the rules, we knew it at the time, and to come out 24 hours later and to say to the millions of football supporters in this country ‘No, there’s a bit of confusion but we’re sort of comfortable with it’ is rubbish – that is a rubbish call. At no stage in the history of the game and in the future of the game, can players assume that a player has played on. That explanation doesn’t, doesn’t cut it.”

North Melbourne players, pictured here after their loss to Collingwood.
North Melbourne players look on after their loss to Collingwood. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

On SEN radio, former Port Adelaide player Kane Cornes said: “In the good, the bad and ugly – that explanation of the non-50m penalty well, it's really ugly. It didn't make any sense to me. I just thought he played on because he had two Collingwood players charging at him, so his instant reaction was to play on.

“We've seen players just creep over the mark who aren't involved in the marking contest and be penalised straight away. Umpires love nothing more than to pay a 50m penalty if they can for any reason. Yet, they've not paid one there, so I'm not sure that is going to wash.”

with AAP