The 2023 AFL Grand Final will long be remembered as one of the best games footy fans have witnessed.
Collingwood and Brisbane went toe-to-toe for the entirety of four quarters as the contest came down to do a measly four points at the final siren.
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Unfortunately the contest has been overshadowed by one controversial moment in the dying stages.
Brisbane were dudded by a contentious advantage decision with less than 90 seconds to go in the contest as they trailed by four points.
Outrage over the call came in thick and fast and will no doubt be a hot topic of conversation for days, weeks and even years to come.
“That wasn’t a good advantage that one,” Channel 7’s Matthew Richardson said.
“That is ridiculous. They didn’t know it was their free kick.”
Luke Hodge added: “Poor advantage this. They didn’t know there was a free kick. Tripped the ankle. That is not advantage.”
According to the AFL’s laws of the game, the advantage rule (20.2) states the following: A field umpire will call and signal ‘advantage’ where a team offended against demonstrates an intent to continue with play within a reasonable time.
While Bailey demonstrated an intent to continue play, and why wouldn’t he given the circumstances of the contest, it’s the “reasonable time” angle that’s extremely blurry.
With over 100,000 fans in attendance, Bailey had around one second from the whistle blowing to the ball coming into contact with his boot.
While the horror decision will haunt the AFL’s top brass, it’s those two words that leave even more question marks hanging overhead.
Lions fans will be left fuming over the incident with many neutral fans believing the horror decision cost Brisbane one final chance to steal the victory.
Brisbane coach Chris Fagan addressed the incident during his post game press conference.
“I haven’t seen it, so I won’t comment on it,” Fagan said.
“I didn’t know the whistle had been blown by the umpire to be honest. You guys have got a better feel for that than I have.
“I’ll have to watch the replay.”
It looked like the Lions were going to pinch it after Joe Daniher’s late goal, but the umpire’s call to force the Lions to play on in the most pivotal section of play of the match will now be a dark chapter on an otherwise epic decider.
The footy world was full of condemnation for the umpire’s decision.
“That advantage call was an absolute shocker. Collingwood deserved winners, but wow that was awful,” Code Sport’s Lachlan McKirdy posted on Twitter.
ABC’s Paul Johnson posted: “Better team wins in Collingwood but that was rancid umpiring at the end. Brisbane Lions had no advantage to take.”
ESPN’s Kane Pitman posted: “The worst advantage call of all time at the worst possible time. Horrific call”.
Former Brisbane Lions captain Tom Rockliff wrote: “How is that advantage? Disgraceful. Lions robbed.”