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Free Kick Bulldogs? I don't think so, says Beveridge


The AFL’s umpiring chief is set to meet with disgruntled Sydney coach John Longmire as the Western Bulldogs move to shut down talk of free-kick favouritism.

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The Bulldogs enjoyed a lopsided free-kick count during last year’s grand final and it was the case again during their 23-point win over the Swans at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.

They received 31 free kicks compared to Sydney’s 18, including a shot on goal for a controversial deliberate rushed behind, which the AFL has since declared was the correct call.

We’re a very disciplined team… sometimes you get rewards from that

Longmire’s frustration after the game was barely disguised, and Fairfax Media reports he will meet with AFL umpires boss Peter Schwab ahead of Sydney’s game with Collingwood on Friday.

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson also queried the umpiring during their semi-final loss to the Bulldogs.

Beveridge yesterday moved to shut down the latest talk of free kick favouritism, saying it was naive to simply point to raw numbers.

“We’re a very disciplined team, we pride ourselves in it (and) sometimes you get rewards from that,” he said.

“I’d just like people … (to) actually look at vision and try and pull out the ones that we shouldn’t be getting, and have a look out for the ones that maybe we should get that we don’t get as well, just like other teams.

“If you base your analysis purely on quantities, you’re missing the mark by a long way.”

The Bulldogs’ intensity at the contests and smooth ball movement has been a key feature of Beveridge’s game-plan and is likely to have had an impact on their favourable free kick counts.

The Swans nonetheless sought an explanation about the standard of umpiring in last year’s grand final.

An AFL review of the game confirmed several calls were incorrect and the overall umpiring performance was not up to standard.

“We had a chat (with the AFL) … really, just to see what they thought about the umpiring,” Longmire said at the time.

“I think in a general sense, putting the grand final to one side, we need to put resources into the umpiring.

“I understand there’s probably not an absolute full-time role there but to be able to spend more time working on your craft is really important.”


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