Howe is that not a mark? AFL gives decision the all-clear

Marks like Jeremy Howe's speccy-that-wasn't on Queen's Birthday will continue to be called free kicks for the rest of the year, though there will be a review of the interpretation of the rule after the season.

The AFL has determined that the decision to award a free kick was correctly applied to deny the Collingwood defender's high mark over Tom McDonald.

Howe put his foot in McDonald's back as he leapt to take the mark.  The umpire ruled the action was dangerous because Howe had hi "studs up" in the contest.

The new "studs up" rule was introduced in the off-season in reaction to Toby Greene's dangerous leg-out tactic in marking and contested ball situations last year.

The AFL will review at the end of the year whether incidents like Howe's mark should be treated the same as incidents like Greene's.

McDonald shared his thoughts on the free kick on Instagram, in an exchange observing "the cuts down my back show why there is the rule" … with a love heart emoji.

Howe himself told Fox Footy that he understood why the rule had been brought in, though he had thought his technique was fine because he had not kicked out as he took the grab.

But former players were not so happy, with Tigers great Matthew Richardson joining Kane Cornes and Mick McGuane, among others, in airing their disappointment on social media.

The concern from critics is that high marks are an iconic feature of the game and they would rather see marks of that type paid.

A rules guideline video at the start of the year showed a mark of West Coast's Josh Kennedy's from the preliminary final that was similar to Howe's and said then that marks of this type would be ruled free kicks this season.

Meanwhile, the AFL also confirmed it was retraining video score reviewers this week in the correct protocols and procedures in reviewing decisions after yet another mistake in this round.

The reviewer who made the mistake with Richmond's Jack Higgins non-goal on Friday night failed to look at all available footage before making a decision to call the kick a behind. The footage they did not look at was the only definitive footage of the incident.

The AFL will introduce a bunker system using fewer reviewers covering all games from one central location next year but it will not be introduced in time for this season.

That system might not be the panacea to the problem though, as the recent incidents have been a product of human error and any new system is still open to the same concern.

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