The new interpretation of holding the ball is in full effect and West Coast copped the brunt of it in the latest instalment of controversial umpiring decisions.

The concept comes as the AFL has instructed umpires to reward the tacklers in an instant or retrieve the ball for an immediate stoppage.

Either way, it is supposed to ease congestion and potentially prevent dangerous tackles.

However, players and coaches alike are still shaking their heads at some of the decisions, with Eagles coach Adam Simpson left bemused by one on Saturday afternoon.

 2024-06-08T06:35:00Z 
 
 
Optus Stadium
WCE   
65
FT
74
   NMFC

In wet and slippery conditions at Optus Stadium, with the game hanging in the balance, the West Coast midfielder dispossessed North Melbourne's George Wardlaw before gathering the football.

Barely having time to get rid of it, Yeo was met by Kangaroos co-captain Jy Simpkin before being penalised for holding the ball.

Simpkin subsequently put the Roos back in front with two minutes remaining in the match, before a Paul Curtis goal sealed the club's first win of 2024.

In his post-match press conference, Simpson was left speechless with the decision but was careful not to say anything that could get him in "trouble".

"We can't coach differently, so I don't know what to say to Elliot. Don't win the ball? I don't know," Simpson said.

"It's probably the wrong time to ask me. I get why we made the tweak, but it seems like it will take some time to get it right.

"Players will work it out, but we have to work it out on the fly. They are pretty smart and normally work their way around it. At the moment, it's a talking point because the game looks different on occasion.

"I'm not talking about that free kick anymore, because I'll get in trouble."

Even commentators and fans were left shocked by the decision, including Fox Footy's Ben Dixon and Brad Johnson.

“He certainly didn't dive on the ball – he picked the ball up and got to his knees,” Dixon said.

“Diving on the ball is you're actually hatching it. You jump on. He hasn't jumped on it.”

“He's got no prior,” Brad Johnson added.

“He's done the right thing – laid the tackle. Ball spills out, picks it up, tries to get to his feet to feed off and then is tackled immediately. That's not holding the ball.”

North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson remained coy after his side's first victory of the season, saying he just hoped when the whistle blows, it's in your favour.

“I actually haven't seen it. You just hear the whistle blow and hope he points his arm in the direction of your side winning the free kick,” Clarkson admitted.

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“This is the hard thing for the umps – they are making hundreds of decisions a game, not just the ones that actually blow the whistle.

“When it's a close game, you can understand the fans would be upset.

“Without being arrogant about it, I thought the better side won on the day.

We'd have been really stiff to lose that game given the effort we'd put in to get ourselves in a winning position.”

 2024-06-16T03:00:00Z 
 
 
Marvel Stadium
NMFC   
118
FT
119
   COLL