AFL admits to umpire error in not penalising Draper

Oliver Caffrey |

Adelaide were hard done by in their three-point loss to Essendon, the AFL has acknowledged.
Adelaide were hard done by in their three-point loss to Essendon, the AFL has acknowledged.

The AFL has admitted an umpire made a mistake in not giving Adelaide a free kick after Essendon ruckman Sam Draper dived on the ball in the dying seconds of Friday night’s thriller.

The Bombers left the Adelaide Oval with a 4-2 record after hanging on for a decisive three-point win over the Crows, who have slumped to 1-5.

Draper dived on the ball inside Adelaide’s forward 50 and was tackled by Crows players.

Umpires refused to pay a free kick against Draper, who had the ball locked on the ground, before the siren sounded.

Sam Draper
The AFL admits a free kick should have been paid against Sam Draper. (Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS)

“In the moment and at ground level the umpires believed that Draper dived on the ball, and then the ball came out to Draper’s left, and was then knocked back under him by (Taylor) Walker,” an AFL spokesperson said on Saturday.

“In review, and with the assistance of the broadcast angle and behind the goals Hawkeye vision providing a clearer look, you can see that the ball moves from under Draper’s chest – to under his armpit/shoulder – which means the ball is still in his possession, and he has not immediately knocked it clear.

“Therefore, it technically should have been a Holding the Ball free kick.”

The AFL did concede it was a “very challenging” decision for the umpires given nearly every player on the ground was parked inside Adelaide’s forward 50.

Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks refused to comment on the decision when asked about it post-game.

The Crows have now been officially dudded by umpires twice in their last four games at the Adelaide Oval.

In round 23 last season, Ben Keays thought he had put the Crows in front of Sydney with a minute left, but the umpire deemed the shot hit the post.

Replays revealed the ball never hit the post and Keays should have been awarded a goal.