Despite all video evidence pointing towards an incorrect call being made, the AFL has no plans to overturn the controversial behind call that effectively ended Adelaide's 2023 season.

Trailing the travelling Swans by two points with just over a minute left on the clock, Crows Mr. Fix-It Ben Keays snapped from the scoreboard pocket of the Adelaide Oval, his left-footed effort appearing to split the big sticks at the Hill End.

However, the officiating goal umpire opted to call the ex-Lion's shot a behind, believing the ball to have brushed the post on the way through.

Wasting no time, the Swans played on quickly pushing the ball up the field before taking the win in the September-shaping clash by a solitary point.

While officiators opted not to send the consequential snap upstairs to the review centre, angles published to social media in the wake of the result show that not only was a review required, it would have almost certainly overturned the outcome.

After the league reviewed the non-review, the outcome of the contest will remain the same.

But while it will come as little solace to aggrieved Adelaide fans, outgoing AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan was willing to concede on Sunday that the officiating umpire had made the incorrect call.

"In the final minutes of the Crows-Sydney game, there was a goal umpiring decision that should have been reviewed, and that was a mistake," McLachlan stated.

"I want to say conclusively that if the decision had been reviewed, it would have been overturned and it would have been a goal."

A further statement from AFL House confirmed that the goal umpire at the centre of the controversy "will not be available for selection for the rest of the AFL season."

While there are mathematical routes available for the Crows to play finals for the first time since 2017, Matthew Nicks' side will be forced to rely upon other results going their way.

Speaking post-game, Nicks stated that while the contentious loss stung, he and his up-and-coming team would trust the league's processes regarding the result.

“I'm on the bench, from where I was I can't tell you if it was a goal or not,” Nicks said.

“What I can tell you, my understanding is that we review those moments, especially at the end of games.

“We have just put trust in the process now, so as a footy club and as a coach that is all we can do.”

Adelaide CEO Tim Silvers was also magnanimous in defeat, stressing that despite the circumstances, the club was willing to accept that this was a clear case of human error.

“Human error is, and always will be, part of football and we recognise our own performance in the first half of the season-defining game was not at the standard we expect either,” Silvers said.

“We are also extremely proud of our players' effort, commitment and never give up attitude, which was again on show.

Still, Silvers didn't miss the opportunity to echo public sentiment, stating that if review technology is available, it should be utilised in situations such as Keays' snap.

“The failure to video review the scoring attempt in question is inexplicable given the enormity of the moment, not just for that game but also what it meant for our finals chances and those of other teams in the competition," Silvers buttressed.

“Having spoken to the AFL and with no further avenues to explore, we have no choice other than to turn our focus to the final home and away match of the season.

“While we will not participate in the upcoming finals series, we are determined to build on the progress our young playing group has made this year.”

With a fortnight until finals, the league has placed itself under further pressure regarding its vexing review system, with Keay's snap coming in the wake of Carlton scraping home against Melbourne after grainy footage was unable to conclusively show whether defender Caleb Marchbank failed to touch Christian Petracca's rushed shot or not.


  1. This “decision” was not in isolation
    The first 3 quarters were defined by what frees were NOT paid.

    Sydney played fast and hard – easily done when there are no calls made on high contact, holding off the ball, blocking, front on contact in a marking contest, incorrect disposal and pushing in the back…..

    When Adelaide got a few frees in the last quarter the game changed completely – and won the game……….. requiring that to be “rectified”.

    There is every reason to believe that the result of this game had been predetermined.

  2. “Despite all video evidence pointing towards an incorrect call being made, the AFL has no plans to overturn the controversial behind call that effectively ended Adelaide’s 2023 season.”

    … and this surprises who?

  3. KPI’s must be triggered by two NSW teams making the finals……

    I have read somewhere that “sportsbet” has paid out Adelaide bets….

    If so – and I am by no means certain it is true – it says much when a gambling house has more integrity than the vfl…. or is this simply a measure to avoid a class action before the Victorian Gaming ?Commission?

  4. the fact of the matter is, for a professional sport these sorts of human errors are nowhere near good enough, sadly this sort of nonsense has happened far too often to consider it an isolated incident.

    Really all that tells us, is that the technology is inadequate and is in need of significant updating over the off-season, having cameras on the goalposts at the top and looking down the goalposts with a great field of view, and cameras in the paddings looking towards the ground, all of which should be a compulsory item for this technology, which as I pointed out, has proven to be inadequate since it’s inception, that or have teams initiate a score review as well up to 2 times per quarter, even if it means slowing the game down a little, that doesn’t really matter, so long as the correct decision is made in the end.

    the AFL makes enough money, so they can easily afford to have a dozen more cameras in and behind the goalposts, something that should have happened years ago.

    It is important to note that every other sport has a score review system that makes the AFL’s version of it look inferior in every possible measure.

Comments are closed.