‘Shattered’: Crows miss finals as AFL concedes mistake

Adelaide will use the “monumental mistake” that sealed their finals fate as motivation for next season, with AFL boss Gillon McLachlan conceding the Crows should have been awarded a late goal while confirming their crucial one-point loss to Sydney won’t be overturned.

Aug 21, 2023, updated Aug 21, 2023
Adelaide missed out on the finals after a goal was judged a point and not reviewed. Photo: AAP/Matt Turner

Adelaide missed out on the finals after a goal was judged a point and not reviewed. Photo: AAP/Matt Turner

The Crows’ finals chances ended in controversy after the goal umpire awarded a behind rather than a goal to Ben Keays, which would have given Adelaide the lead with just over a minute to play in Saturday night’s Adelaide Oval clash.

The umpire signalled the ball hit the post and didn’t seek a video review –  which McLachlan said on Sunday he should have done.

Silvers confirmed the Crows considered their options before conceding there was nothing they could do.

“There’s a range of emotions that’s going through us … frustration, disappointment, there’s a bit of anger. We’re shattered,” Silvers said on Sunday.

“This was a monumental mistake … this is going to sting today, it’s going to sting tomorrow, it’s going to sting for another six months and hopefully it drives for further success.”

Referring to their string of close losses this season, Silvers said: “The footy gods have not been smiling on us … I’m sure this is going to drive us.”

McLachlan said in the midst of the hectic finish, the score should have been reviewed.

“I want to say conclusively that if the decision had been reviewed, it would have been overturned and it would have been a goal,” he said.

“It’s a human error that happens repeatedly through games and across the course of the year but this is an error that, given the context and the moment, was of great consequence.

“I want to acknowledge that was a mistake and want to take accountability for the mistake on behalf of the league.”

The 13th-placed Crows are two wins outside the top eight with one game remaining, an away game against West Coast.

Had they beaten Sydney, Adelaide’s season would have been well and truly alive ahead of a return clash with the Eagles. They smashed West Coast by 122 points in round 13 at the Adelaide Oval.

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The AFL said the Crows had been nothing but professional in their dealings with the league.

Silvers acknowledged that the AFL had apologised, adding the league now had to have a hard look at its score review system.

“We’re all going to learn a bit out of this situation. All good businesses run a ruler over their operations and I’m sure the AFL will do so. I’m sure they will be better,” he said.

In a club statement earlier on Sunday, he made clear the club’s bemusement that the goal was not reviewed.

“The failure to video review the scoring attempt in question is inexplicable given the enormity of the moment, not just for that game but also what it meant for our finals chances and those of other teams in the competition,” he said

“Having spoken to the AFL and with no further avenues to explore, we have no choice other than to turn our focus to the final home and away match of the season.”

The result also had ramifications for other teams vying for a place in the finals.

If Adelaide won, St Kilda would have been assured of their first finals berth since 2020.

Instead, the Saints need to upset Brisbane at the Gabba to lock in their finals spot, or rely on other results falling their way next weekend.

The goal umpire at the centre of the controversy won’t be available for selection for the rest of the AFL season.

McLachlan stressed the AFL was prioritising the umpire’s mental health.

-with AAP

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