Why are video reviews getting worse when they should be getting better?
Believe it or not, this is the eighth season the AFL has utilised video reviews.
Eight years and we seem to be no closer to clarity.
To be honest, it’s embarrassing we’re still getting them wrong.
In the past two rounds, there have been three glaring mistakes that the video review system supposedly should have picked up:
- Richmond’s Jack Higgins goal against Geelong (ruled to have touched the post)
- Fremantle’s Michael Walters (a wrongly credited goal)
- West Coast’s Oscar Allen (another goal that shouldn’t have been)
Here’s my solution for the AFL… stump up the cash, get a competent system in place and install it at every ground.
Pretty simple right? Yet for some reason, it hasn’t been done.
Instead of doing one thing properly, we’re half-arsing two things - I’m talking about video reviews in open play (specifically when its touched off the boot).
Reviews shouldn’t be used for in play. Period.
Those calls should solely be at the discretion of the umpires… otherwise it’s just going to slow the game down too much - ironic given the rules the AFL introduces each year to do the opposite.
And if we’re reviewing in-game touches, what’s next? Holding the ball? 50m penalties?
Get the score reviews right, then we can focus on other ways to use video reviews, such as in play decisions (if people want to).
There is another idea to explore, and it follows the same vein as cricket’s DRS and Tennis with hawkeye.
Give teams a set amount of reviews they can use each game.
Even in an ideal world, I don’t think you can…
If the captain is off the ground, who makes the decision? A player nearby the contest?
Every defender will always say they touched the ball and if the captain is 50m away, they can’t exactly make an educated decision.
You could use players from the leadership team, but it all feels too messy and will slow the game down far too much.
Another alternative would be to follow the NFL and have flags on the play - umpires see something, throw a flag and it’s immediately reviewed.
But our game was not designed to be overanalyzed in every moment as it happens - we’ve been dealing with human error for 150 years and still managed.
Despite the above rant, I am in favour of video reviews and understand the need for it.
For the sake of 30 seconds, goal line technology is ok.
Everything else, however, I think we’re jumping the gun.
Be better AFL, fix the goal line review system, then we can talk about the rest.
Dale Lewis is the co-host of Triple M’s The Rush Hour with Jars & Louie, weekdays from 3-4pm and 6-7pm.
Lewis played 182 games for the Sydney Swans between 1990 and 2001.