AFL news 2021: Cale Hooker 50m penalty video, Brisbane Lions vs Essendon Bombers


Was this 50m penalty a result of Cale Hooker’s shrewdness, Zac Bailey’s innocence or a flustered umpire error? Or all of the above? You be the judge.

Was this 50m penalty a result of Cale Hooker’s shrewdness, Zac Bailey’s innocence or a flustered umpire error? Or all of the above?

With his Bombers in desperate need of a goal during the second quarter of Saturday night’s game at the Gabba, Hooker appeared to help manufacture a 50m penalty to earn a set-shot close to goal.

After winning a free kick for holding the ball near the wing position, Hooker was about to handball to a teammate before Brisbane player Bailey appeared to move off his mark at around the same time the umpire had called ‘play on’.

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The wise Hooker, before he disposed of the ball, pointed out Bailey’s movement to the umpire, who then appeared to be caught in two minds about what to do next.

The umpire was seemingly halfway through saying to Hooker that Bailey was “not off his mark”. However Bailey himself appeared resigned that he’d made a mistake and given away a 50m penalty for not adhering to the AFL’s new “stand” rule when manning the mark.

Ultimately, the 50m penalty was paid and Hooker converted the set-shot attempt to kick the Bombers’ first major of the night.

But commentators believe Bailey was unlucky.

“I think he (the umpire) didn’t want to pay it, but by the letter of the law he had to in the end,” former Bulldogs ruckman Luke Darcy told Channel 7.

“Was he (Hooker) planning that? Was he faking it? Good move if he was.

“He (the umpire) called ‘play on’ and he hadn’t played on and he wanted his words back.”

Richmond legend Matthew Richardson added: “He said ‘play on’. It can’t be play on and then 50?”

Four-time premiership Hawk Jordan Lewis said it was incumbent on the umpire to not make a panicked decision in situations like that.

“I think the umpire in this instance needs to have a little bit of calm about him and not penalise the player who is the man on the mark and doing the right thing,” Lewis told Fox Footy.

“I’m OK with the umpire there to say: ‘Sorry I mucked the call up, Hooker go back and take your kick, I’m not going to use it as a ball-up … go back and take your kick, I made a mistake.’”

It wasn’t the only call in the second term that perplexed fans and commentators.

Essendon young gun Nik Cox and Lions forward Eric Hipwood were both penalised for deliberate out of bounds.

The free against Hipwood, who soccered off the ground and kicked the ball forward while under pressure, seemed to irk Lions coach Chris Fagan the most. And commentators agreed.

“That’s the one I don’t get. He’s not trying to get that out of bounds. He’s trying to get it forward, he’s trying to attack,” Richardson said.

“It’s almost at the point where they should pay last touch because there’s not much else Hipwood could do then.”

Four-time premiership Hawk Luke Hodge added: “I think that’’s where common sense needs to come into it. It’s a wet game, that ball’s going to slide on, he’s run 50m to kick the ball forward off the ground.”

Earlier in the quarter, Lions midfielder Jarrod Berry was reported for rough conduct after a sling tackle on Cox.

However on replay, it appeared Berry’s head was well off the ground when he was brought to ground.

“I think the free kick was there, but I don’t think the report will be too much of an issue,” Darcy said.

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Western Bulldogs v Gold Coast Suns; Sydney Swans v GWS Giants; Carlton Blues v Port Adelaide Power; Brisbane Lions v Essendon Bombers; round five; results, new, fixtures, odds, tipping, teams, draw; Joe Daniher


Carlton 3.3, 4.5, 6.10, 9.14 (68)
Pt.Adel. 4.2, 8.4, 14.5, 15.6 (96)

GOALS
Carlton: Casboult 2, Fogarty, Walsh, McKay, McGovern, Cottrell, Newnes, Pittonet
Pt.Adel: Gray 3, Georgiades 3, Fantasia 2, Dixon 2, Lycett, Marshall, Amon, Woodcock, Rozee

DISPOSALS
Carlton: Walsh 29, Cripps 27, Docherty 25, Williams 22
Pt.Adel: Wines 32, Boak 29, Amon 28, Byrne-Jones 24

The Blues might have applied some cosmetic surgery to the scoreboard in the end, but make no mistake, this game was well and truly over by three-quarter time.

Port Adelaide emphatically won the disposals 400-334 and marks 110-95 while also getting the edge in contested possessions 141-134.

Amazingly, the Blues had 10 more inside 50s (58-48) and four more clearances (36-32), but as has been the case for most of the year for them, they were way too inefficient.

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Redlegs outrun Frankston Bombers


MPNFL – DIVISION ONE

MT ELIZA have started the year on the right foot with a big win over the Frankston Bombers.

The Redlegs signalled their intent early with a big first quarter. A four goals to one opening term put the Bombers on the back foot.

The Redlegs continued to apply pressure throughout the match, and ended up running out 55 point winners. The final score read 5.5 (35) to 13.12 (90).

Sam Gill, Lachlan Williams, Sam Webster, Zach Rouse, and Nicholas McKinnon kicked two goals each for the winning side.

Under the new lights at Frankston Park, the Stonecats scored a big win. Frankston YCW defeated Pines 36 – 93.

First published in the Frankston Times – 13 April 2021

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Port Adelaide eye Essendon Bombers star Zach Merrett


Port Adelaide have joined the queue of clubs interested in acquiring Essendon’s star midfielder and 2021 free agent Zach Merrett.

While Carlton are the club that has been most strongly linked to Merrett – an interest that was evident late last season before Merrett opted not to request a trade – industry sources have confirmed that the Power have registered an interest in Merrett, a restricted free agent this year.

More than one club has shown an interest in Zach Merrett.Credit:Getty Images

Melbourne are another club to have shown strong interest in Merrett, who would add run and ball use to a formidable ball-winning midfield.

The Demons, however, have a tight salary cap. They confirmed on Tuesday night that they had recontracted Clayton Oliver for another two years, while their emerging superstar Christian Petracca is a free agent in 2022 when he would be one of the most coveted players in the game. Oliver will be a free agent in 2023, at the end of his new deal.

Merrett also was on the radar of Collingwood last year, but the Magpies, who offloaded Adam Treloar and Jaidyn Stephenson during the trade period due to their salary-cap squeeze, would also have to find salary-cap room to make a serious bid.

Port Adelaide, despite being one of the flag favourites this year, expect to have salary-cap space heading into next year due to the unusual nature of their playing list, which has outstanding veterans such as Travis Boak and Robbie Gray, plus exceptional players under 22 leaded by Zak Butters, Connor Rozee and Xavier Duursma.

The Power have Gray, Steven Motlop, Tom Rockliff and Hamish Hartlett all coming out of contract this year and all on substantial contracts – a scenario that will allow Port to make room for an incoming free agent or recruit from another club, if they can attract one.

Merrett, 25, who hails from Cobden in western Victoria, would fit Port’s ideal age demographic, since few of the club’s elite players are in their mid 20s.

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Essendon Bombers should be thanking Joe Daniher, Adam Saad and Orazio Fantasia


In retrospect, the whole Worsfold era was a salvage or holding operation, as the club repaired relationships, mended parlous finances and regained stability and faith. Compromises were inevitable, as the club owed a moral debt to the players whose careers were upended and then to Worsfold for his leadership in a crisis.

But during 2020, the holding pattern reached a dead end. Worsfold, retained due to a sense of obligation (and to avoid reputational blowback) – and against the wishes of Richardson – was still head coach, but his authority was diluted with Ben Rutten slated to take over.

If the Dons have lost short-term ground this year, because senior players have been replaced by kids, what they’ve gained is more valuable: a genuine rebirth and clean slate.

Further, there’s clarity about where they stand and the path forward. Acquiring Saad, Stringer, Smith and Shiel did not deliver them to contention. Had Daniher and Saad stayed, I suspect they would’ve muddled along in mid-table mediocrity for another couple of years.

Nik Cox is a dual-sided running player with top-end endurance.Credit:Getty Images

Now, as a consequence of the exodus, they’re clearer sighted about the path ahead, which will be to blend talented top-10 picks Nik Cox, Archie Perkins and Zach Reid and emerging players Jordan Ridley and Andy McGrath with the mature core.

At season’s end, they should go to the draft again, eschewing the temptation to trade away an early pick for Bulldog Josh Dunkley or someone else of that ilk. That pick can only be traded for a young star.

Cox shapes as a unique talent, a 200-centimetre, dual-sided running player with top-end endurance; if his best position is unclear, he’s definitely a weapon.

Perkins has shown he can play in the past two games, while Reid, from all reports, is a natural key back who will get a chance to show his wares this year.

There’s long-term situations vacant at key forward (though Harrison Jones is showing encouraging signs), in defence and a need remains for a large-bodied midfielder, but the key is that the Bombers know that they’re some distance from that 17th flag and can plan accordingly.

New Bomber Archie Perkins.

New Bomber Archie Perkins.Credit:Getty Images

The new president Paul Brasher is relatively open about where the club is placed and what lies ahead. A survivor of the board that presided over the drugs/ASADA disaster and ex-chair of PwC’s global board, Brasher has taken an auditor’s approach to Essendon’s football performance, interviewing staff late last year to gain a pellucid picture of what’s wrong before seeking repairs.

The club is also trying to bring fans along for the ride, as evident in the footage on the club website of skipper Dyson Heppell addressing the players after the close loss to the Swans – perhaps a club version of Gorbachev’s glasnost (openness) to follow the perestroika (restructuring).

The change of president, senior coach, football manager (Josh Mahoney) and downshift to a younger list means the Dons can really banish the drugs saga and all the lingering legacies. The financial position is strong enough that the entire focus can be on winning games, which, despite their intentions, didn’t happen in Worsfold’s time.

Rutten may or not prove to be the right coach, and the Bombers may or may not ascend to the top four and flag proximity on his watch. Nothing is guaranteed and the Bombers have disappointed too often over the past decade for one to be too bullish.

Whatever happens, what we can safely say this time is that the Bombers know the score.

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Guess who? Franklin haunts Bombers again as rising Swans go 4-0


“I’m loving it out here.”

The Bombers, to their credit, fought to their end, with a late snap from Cale Hooker keeping the Swans sweating until the final siren – which, when it came, triggered bedlam among the 28,039-strong crowd.

This wasn’t as pretty a win for the Swans as their previous ones over Brisbane, Adelaide and Richmond, which surprisingly came and went without incident – although it might have been a lot easier had they kicked straight.

Down by 25 points early in the second term, with star forward Isaac Heeney off injured with a broken hand and the system of play that had worked so well for them breaking down, it would have been easy for the Swans to drop their heads.

Essendon had kicked six unanswered goals across the first and second quarters, a run that ended with a miraculous effort from deep in the forward pocket by Darcy Parish – the sort of goal you concede when everything’s going against you. Their plan to clog the corridor and force Sydney down the line was working, and had been helped along by a series of squandered opportunities in attack by the hosts.

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But Sydney persevered, and piled on the next six goals in response – with Franklin’s second, after a brilliant kick inside 50 from the busy Errol Gulden, putting them back in front.

From then on, it was a true arm-wrestle. Inspired by some promising kids of their own – like the versatile Nik Cox and the hard-nosed Archie Perkins – Essendon were gallant and would have lost no admirers for their performance, despite falling agonisingly short.

“We’re certainly disappointed and the players are shattered about the result,” coach Ben Rutten said. “But the character, the grit, the determination the guys showed right to the last second, on a short break, travel, all those things – it’s character-building for our group.

“Another game in a really hostile environment up here in Sydney, a little bit dewey, small ground, good contested team, it’s fantastic experience and exposure for them to get a look at the level that we need to keep striving for.”

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Sydney Swans vs Essendon Bombers, Tom Hickey holding the ball, umpiring call


Sydney Swans’ thrilling three-point victory over the Essendon Bombers on Thursday evening has been marred by a late umpiring controversy.

The round four match featured a tightly-contested arm wrestle throughout the second half, which set up a nailbiting climax at the SCG.

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Sydney was ahead by three points with less than one minute remaining on the clock when Tom Hickey caught a boundary throw near Essendon’s defensive 50.

The Swans ruckman took a couple of steps looking to handball before he was tackled by Bombers young gun Nik Cox, but the umpires believed Hickey did not have prior opportunity, and proceeded with a ball-up.

Several AFL fans voiced their frustration on social media, arguing that Essendon should have been awarded a free kick because Hickey had run a few metres before he was tackled.

READ MORE: Eddie’s revolutionary 20-team proposal

Speaking on Fox Footy’s First Crack, AFL reporter Tom Morris argued: “I think it’s holding the ball.

“If you get tackled straight away, fair enough. But he takes it out of the rough, takes a couple of steps, and had a chance to handball.”

Three-time All-Australian Gerard Healy disagreed: “I’ve always been of the view that you should reward the ball winner.

“To me, he’s had one-and-a-half steps, he’s been tackled pretty much straight away. I would have said play on.”

St Kilda great Leigh Montagna elaborated: “We don’t want to reward the tacklers. We don’t want to reward the negative play.”

Speaking to reporters after the match, Essendon coach Ben Rutten said he did not see the incident.

The decision would have gone unnoticed if it occurred earlier in the match, but every moment in the closing passages of a thriller inevitably comes under heavy scrutiny.

Regardless, the undefeated Swans secured a fourth consecutive victory to push their case as genuine finals contenders.

Sydney is the fifth team since 2017 to win their opening four games of the season — the other four all qualified for the preliminary finals.

The Swans will enjoy a nine-day break before facing the GWS Giants at the SCG on Saturday, April 17.

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AFL live: Bombers out to cause upset against unbeaten Swans




Sydney is yet to be defeated this season, but Essendon will back its chances at the SCG as it comes off a confidence-boosting win over St Kilda. Follow our live AFL ScoreCentre for all the scores, stats and results.

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Sydney Swans v Essendon Bombers round four fixtures, results, tipping, tickets, draw, odds, tickets


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AFL round 3: Essendon Bombers vs St Kilda live score, result Shane Warne Twitter, Jake Stringer


One of St Kilda’s biggest fans has given a scathing assessment of their recent performance, calling the side “horrendous” and “lazy”.

An injury-riddled St Kilda outfit has been utterly outclassed by the Essendon Bombers on Saturday afternoon — even their most famous supporter has turned against them.

Essendon had lost 11 of their previous 12 games leading into the round three clash at Marvel Stadium, not recording an AFL win since round 14 last season.

But the Bombers — who also boast a heavy casualty ward — were at their destructive best on Saturday, kicking 12 goals in the first half and racing towards a comfortable 22.11 (143) to 9.14 (68) victory.

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With Rowan Marshall and Paddy Ryder unavailable for the match, St Kilda coach Brett Ratten was forced to deploy Shaun McKernan and Jake Carlisle in the ruck, the inexperienced pair conceding the first five centre clearances.

The Saints midfielders were also worryingly ineffective in the first half, registering just 13 tackles from 222 Essendon’s disposals.

Former Bombers captain Brendon Goddard told ABC Grandstand: “Saints have been really poor defensively … we’re seeing too many Saints midfielders standing still and ball watching.

“If I was a senior member of the Saints backline … I’d be coming in at half time and saying to the midfield … your ability to slow the ball is absolutely horrendous.”

Even outspoken St Kilda superfan Shane Warne was unimpressed with their performance, blasting his beloved club in a series of scathing tweets.

“Tackles way down, horrible out the middle, looked slow and nowhere near ferocious enough at the ball. Essendon look hungrier right now than us. Lift Saints — let’s play aggressive, fast and please can we use the ball properly,” Warne posted on Saturday.

“Saints look lazy and not interested — how can that be! Effort is free and it has to be said — there is zero effort from the Saints besides our skipper! Work rate is non-existent two weeks in a row. Wow, feel like turning the TV off, as this is embarrassing!

“Where’s the effort? Two weeks in a row! Horrific and hope the coach gives them the hair dryer treatment.”

READ MORE: Swans embarrass defending champs

To rub salt into the wounds, St Kilda midfielder Jade Gresham suffered a suspected Achilles injury in the second quarter, and at halftime was spotted on crutches in a moon boot.

Hawthorn legend Jason Dunstall told Fox Footy: “Gee that’s innocuous.

“I hope that’s not an Achilles because he just grabbed at it … That’s one of the worst injuries you can have.”

Although St Kilda’s intensity lifted considerbly in the second half, it wasn’t enough to prevent a mammoth 75-point defeat.

Essendon forwards Jake Stringer and Cale Hooker were standout performers on Saturday, booting four majors each.

St Kilda will next face the West Coast Eagles at Marvel Stadium, while Essendon will take on the red-hot Sydney Swans at the SCG.

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