AFL Round 2: Fremantle – North Melbourne, controversial finish video
Nearly 20 years on from the Sirengate saga, Fremantle is embroiled in yet another controversy after being denied a possible free-kick in the dying seconds of their loss to North Melbourne.
Controversy has erupted in the west following a dramatic end to Fremantle’s clash with North Melbourne.
Dockers stormed home in the last five minutes, rattling off three goals to get on a point after North led for most of the game.
The final seconds of the game were contentious after Daniel Howe’s clearing kick denied Fremantle a point that would have leveled the game.
It was only a few seconds that separated Howe from being a hero or a villain in his debut game for North Melbourne.
But he found himself in the middle of the action when his kick from deep in the defense headed straight for the line line, about 10m from the 50m line, with no North teammate in sight.
It would have been a free kick for Fremantle and a shot after the siren to win the game or draw if the siren hadn’t sounded just before crossing the line.
Most of the 40,487 at Optus Stadium thought it should have been a free kick.
About 500 local North fans celebrated the amazing climax as the umpires raised their hands to end the game.
Neither coach really knew what was going to happen, both unsure what the rule was.
Alastair Clarkson wasn’t surprised when the game ended.
“As far as I know, the siren went on while the ball was still in play,” he said. “I think that’s just my raw observation.
“And I’m not sure if that’s the case or not. So if the ball is in play and the siren sounds, what happens after the siren if it goes out or not? The game is dead.
“That’s my understanding of it. I’m not sure if that’s actually true or not. So it will be interesting to see.
“Well, the lap of the gods was only with us for the last stretch and I think our football club deserved it this one time.
“We jumped for joy and then there’s a little argument about whether they called full-time or whatever.
“There was a bit of cheering and I thought it came from the Freo supporters to say it was going to be their free kick, but the cheering came from the 500 North supporters that we had in the stadium.
“It was quite a loud cheer from those 500 or 1000.”
Justin Longmuir simply trusted the referees.
“I’m not 100% sure about the rules,” he said. “You know what, I trust the referee got it right. My gut feeling is that if we got a shot on goal and we drew or won it, we would have stolen it.
“In this last incident, I have faith that the referee got it right.”
The referees appear to have made the right decision, assuming the ball was still in play when the siren sounded.
The rule is that quarter play ends immediately upon the sounding of the siren, but if a ball is in flight before then it can still score a goal.
Clarko praises young Roo in the frantic last minute
Despite a perfect 2-0 start to the 2023 season, Alastair Clarkson realistically admits North Melbourne still have work to do.
But after beating the two West Australian sides in consecutive weeks, including a thrilling one-point win in Perth on Saturday night, he said the Roos had shown they were on the right track.
With a 22-point lead against the Dockers, North let the Dockers back in the game but was able to frantically defend in the last minute to claim a famous win.
Clarkson said the start of the season was the reward for the hard work the team prepared for.
“We’ve been pushed around as a football club in recent years, so yeah, we took to the streets against a really good team and they played really hard in the second half,” he said.
“But we just keep going and that in really important phases.
“They gained some momentum and we just about managed to get forward and score a really important goal just to stem the flow.
“I’m not sure if they ever scored three goals in a row for the game.”
In that frantic last minute, young tomboy Harry Sheezel got back up and got a crucial stop with seconds on the clock.
He showed a steady head for someone in his second game and didn’t let the ball past him for a butt – that would have drawn the game.
Sheezel excelled again, with 30 disposals and over 70 percent efficiency.
Clarkson appreciated his new young star but warned there was more great talent to shine.
“Yeah, being present in that situation, not letting that point get rushed,” Clarkson beamed.
“You know, we have a whole group of these guys. I mean, I know Sheez is getting nothing but praise right now, but we’re really excited to see what’s coming to the Footy Club.”
Originally released as AFL Round 2: Fremantle v North Melbourne, controversial finish video
https://www.codesports.com.au/afl/afl-round-2-fremantle-v-north-melbourne-controversial-finish-video/news-story/a2f6c8bc3ed924faefbcb96ac59c9cba?nk=9dc431ed05c6417a435c297da9cb2247-1679752264 AFL Round 2: Fremantle – North Melbourne, controversial finish video