Sydney coach John Longmire has handed the AFL a brutal reality check on their goal review system after two Blake Acres touched calls cost the Swans in their six-point elimination final loss on Friday night.
Acres was able to get a fingernail to Braeden Campbell’s shot in the third term at the MCG – with the score overturned after the umpire initially declared it a goal.
And it was Acres again who proved the difference on the goal line in the thrilling final quarter.
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His diving touch on Errol Gulden’s shot on goal appeared less obvious on replay, but the soft call of a behind stood after a lengthy review.
When asked directly if the AFL’s goal review technology was “good enough”, Longmire was remarkably honest stating: “Clearly not”.
But he refused to place blame on the score review system for his side’s heartbreaking loss.
“We kicked 2.5 in the last quarter – it makes a difference those moments too,” he said in his press conference.
“We need to make better of our chances.
“(Accuracy) is an important stat in footy – speak to Leigh Matthews.
“In the end, you’ve got to take your chances. Unfortunately we just didn’t take the opportunities when we could have had them.”
Longmire said he was yet to have a clear look at the two touched goals on replay.
“When I’m on the bench, you don’t get to see replays like you guys in the media sit up in the press box,” he said.
“I didn’t know – I don’t know, still haven’t see it.”
Footy commentators were left divided over the second Acres’ touch.
“Wow. I’m not sure there’s a glove on that,” James Brayshaw said.
“They already reckon they were a bit stiff with one (Sydney).
“I can’t see any evidence of that ball being touched.”
But Richmond great Matthew Richardson said the soft call of a behind was the determining factor.
“It’s going to be tough to overrule the umpire though,” he explained.
“Could you categorically overrule that? Geez, it would be a brave call.
“I don’t think you can overrule it.
“It’s too blurry to be categoric.”
The moment proved a game changer as Acres was able to get out the back down the other end and kick what would be Carlton’s match-winner.
Longmire said he hoped the AFL would commit to making improvements to the goal review system moving forward.
Carlton eliminate Swans in thriller | 03:19
“You’d like to think so (that the tech will improve),” he said.
“We’ve been on both sides of the fence, haven’t we.
“We spend a fair bit trying to get things right.”
The Swans scraped into the finals thanks to a goal review controversy in Round 23 when Crow Ben Keays’ goal was not reviewed to give his side the lead late against Sydney – instead called a behind.
Sydney ended up holding on in the final seconds to claim the essential four-points. But they weren’t on the right side of the reviews on Friday night as they bowed out of the finals race.