The AFL will consider scrapping the “soft call” as part of the score review system, which could avoid a repeat of the Tom Lynch elimination final drama.
The Herald Sun’s Jon Ralph reports the league is weighing up a change which would mean the goal umpire is not forced to make a call before referring the incident to the AFL Review Centre (ARC).
It would mean the ARC operator could study the footage and make a call using the extra evidence provided, rather than needing to overturn an existing decision. It would also remove circumstances where the operator reverts to ‘umpire’s call’ because of a lack of clear evidence.
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It comes after the league invited Richmond coach Damien Hardwick into the ARC to examine the processes involved in the Lynch behind.
Lynch’s kick late in the elimination final loss to Brisbane was originally called a goal by the umpire on the scene, but the ARC determined there was sufficient evidence to overturn it into a behind, believing the ball had crossed over the top of the goalpost.
“Two and a half weeks after the Tom Lynch goal that wasn’t a goal, he’s (Hardwick) been brought in by the AFL for really constructive discussions,” Jon Ralph explained on Fox Footy’s On the Couch.
“He had a personal tour of the ARC with Tim Livingstone (Richmond GM of football performance), he had it explained to him by not only Brad Scott (AFL GM of football) but also Andrew Dillon (AFL GM of football operations). And I believe there’s a significant tweak to the goal review system the AFL is considering.
“What we have now is the goal umpire is forced to make a decision, the soft call, goal or behind – even if, in this case, they have no idea.
“So I think what they could do next year, is if they are totally confused, you refer it without that soft call which means the people in the ARC make a decision on balance of probabilities.
“The AFL’s view is because this was called a goal and then overturned, there was all this hysteria when I think we saw that vision from the crowd after and said it was probably a behind.”
He added: “There’ll be some trial of the ball-tracking system. It might cost money but if it costs millions, and we got a definitive call, I think you’d be on board.”