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“It’s a dog’s breakfast”: Young Lion and Hawks great call for clarity on “bizarre” and "confusing" rule


Brisbane’s Alex Witherden has called for greater clarity around the holding the ball interpretation.

The rule continues to confuse players, coaches and fans with Carlton left fuming after Sam Petrevski-Seton was controversially pinged during Sunday’s match against West Coast.

“I saw Sam Petrevksi-Seton get done a couple of times … you’ve got to give players prior opportunity and I think there’s a bit of grey area at the moment,” Witherden told SEN’s Dwayne’s World.

“There has to be a common sense rule brought in that says if you pick up the ball and don’t have prior opportunity – whether you make an attempt or not – it just can’t be holding the ball.

“It has been discussed at the club, we’ve been encouraged to try and keep the ball alive and moving but it’s one of the most bizarre rulings I’ve seen in my short career, and I’ve never seen something as inconsistent as the holding the ball rule at the moment.

“You see a lot of players shovelling it out … they almost throw it out.

“Some of the decisions I saw last night in that game, there’s got to be a common sense rule come in.

“Fans start getting frustrated, the players are a little bit frustrated by it, I know a few of the coaches are frustrated by it … we all just want a bit more clarity on it and the umpires have got a really tough gig in terms of adjudicating the game.

“I just think there just needs to be something that’s a little clearer in terms of the messaging around it because I think from game to game there’s a little bit of a difference at the moment.”

Hawthorn great Terry Wallace described the rule as a “dog’s breakfast” and has called on the AFL to help the umpires by simplifying the interpretation.

“Mine’s been a long career and it’s one of the most bizarre situations that I’ve ever seen. He (Witherden) is making a lot of sense,” Wallace told SEN’s Dwayne’s World.

“The whole thing to me needs to be tidied up.

“Once upon a time you had to boot or fist the ball, now that’s not the case. You can actually drop the ball as making an attempt to get rid of the footy, it’s all so confusing.

“The rule is so confusing nowadays no wonder the umpires are struggling with it and no wonder people at home are getting so frustrated with it as well.

“There has to be a way that helps and assists the umpires to adjudicate it better than what it’s being adjudicated at the moment because in all honestly, it’s a dog’s breakfast.”

Brisbane Lions

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