With the Grand Final played and won, the long dark no football months of summer lie in wait for us. In an effort to bring some light to this miserable time, The Pinch Hitters intend to take a look back at the season that was and celebrate the memorable moments of season 2018. Today we take a look at those events that were perhaps a little less than great, join us as we count down the Top Five Blunders of 2018.
Honourable Mention: 19th Man Chaos
While not strictly in AFL competition, a 2018 blunders list would not be complete without the 19th Man controversy that struck the NEAFL and SANFL Finals Series. Remarkable on the same weekend in Adelaide on the Gold Coast, the Preliminary Final and Grand Final of State Leagues were marred by the winning team being caught with too many players on the field.
A head count in the last quarter of the NEAFL Grand Final found that Southport, leading at the time 76-16, had 19 players on the field. Fortunately for the Sharks, officials decided that the error had ‘no material impact’ on the game and they went on to claim the Premiership with a 14.6 (90) to 5.5 (35) victory over Sydney.
In the SANFL Preliminary Final, North Adelaide staged a remarkable final quarter charge to overturn a 47-point deficit to win win by five points. It was later discovered that the Roosters had 19-players on the ground for five minutes of the last quarter in which they scored eight points. The defeated Woodville West Torrens took an appeal to a hastily arranged SANFL Tribunal but were unsuccessful in their attempts to have the result overturned. Despite the cloud over their participation, North Adelaide would ultimately put the controversy behind them on Grand Final Day and won the Premiership.
5. Banner Blunder
We aren’t heartless enough to put Collingwood’s Cheer Squad on this list for their Grand Final Day misfortune but we couldn’t let them off the hook for this effort before their Round Three clash with Carlton. It seems the proof reader had the day off on this one (as can be the case around here sometimes) and an unfortunate misspelling of tonight was shared with the football world.
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We must add though, that the same cheer squad was responsible for perhaps the best banner of 2018 when they made their thoughts about Jack Higgins’ Goal of the Year plainly clear to anybody reading their crepe masterpiece. Whatever your own view on whether Higgins effort was goal of the year or a throw, you have to admit that the banner is pretty funny.
4. Membrey’s Miss
Poor Tim Membrey.
One of the competitions most reliable kick for goal in recent seasons he is most likely to be remembered for this miss against the Hawks in Launceston in Round Six. Having received the ball alone inside forward fifty he made his way to the goal square where he appeared certain to kick a much needed goal for the Saints. While James Frawley should be commended for his committed chase of the Saint spearhead, it was not the level of pressure that should have seen Membrey miss his wide open target. Which is why his kick will no doubt live long on blooper reels for years to come.
3. Redpath’s return delayed
Jack Redpath already had his suspension extended until Round Two, after unsuccessfully challenging his ban at the end of the 2017 season. Little would he know that a bungle by his club would see him ineligible to return to the field as scheduled for the second game of the 2018 season.
Coach Luke Beveridge was keen to get his big man back into the side for Round Two after the Bulldogs embarrassing 82-point defeat at the hands of the Giants in Round One. Unfortunately, as a result of Redpath playing in a State League practise match while his team mates were being humbled by the Giants, the AFL ruled he still had a week to serve on his suspension
— AFL.com.au (@AFLcomau) June 10, 2018
2. Goal Review – Beams
The Decision Review System seemingly frustrated and confounded far more than it solved the question of incorrect goal umpiring decisions. That said, without wanting to get into an argument over throwing and high ball drops, there was one decision that was considerably worse than the others and that is why it is number two on our list.
Despite being brought in for the purpose of correcting incorrect goal umpiring decisions in the case of Jake Stringer’s shot for goal against Brisbane, the system managed to overturn a correct decision. Despite the goal umpire adjudicating the ball had been touched by Dayne Beams, the central umpire sent it upstairs for review. Quite remarkably, even though the vision supported the Goal Umpire’s decision the television official decided it was actually a goal.
The reason for the SNAFU? “The reviewer got it wrong. It was touched but the reviewer was looking at the wrong players, presumably (Darcy) Gardiner, not Beams,” AFL spokesperson Patrick Keane told the Herald Sun.
1. Ticketek Finals Meltdown
Somehow, despite it’s sole purpose being to sell tickets to events and it being the only place fans could purchase tickets for week one of the finals, Ticketek made an utter mess of day one of the finals ticket purchasing window. Desperate fans of Richmond, Hawthorn, Geelong, GWS, Melbourne and Sydney were left confused, upset and totally bewildered when the ticketing platform failed under the weight of demand.
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The ticketing outlet made the ‘magnanimous’ gesture of waiving booking fees when ticket went on resale but fans deserve much better than this. The fact that this is not the first time the problem has occurred makes it even worse, but we can only hope that all relevant stakeholder are doing what is necessary to ensure that it is the last time.