Round 11 of the AFL 2024 season saw umpires in the spotlight, starting with Thursday’s game where the Swans defeated the Bulldogs. A controversial 50-metre penalty against Laitham Vandermeer, who was penalized for knocking the ball out of Hayden McLean’s hands a fraction of a second after he marked, led to McLean scoring a sealing goal for Sydney, ending a late Bulldogs charge.

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On Friday night, umpiring decisions again dominated discussions after Collingwood’s draw with Fremantle. A critical moment came when Magpie Lachlan Sullivan was penalized for handing the ball to teammate Nick Daicos instead of the umpire after a ball-up was called late in the final term. The resulting free kick allowed Dockers’ Sean Darcy to score from just 15 metres out, narrowing the margin to 13 points with six minutes left, a pivotal moment in the game. The league later cleared the umpire’s decision.

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Saturday saw further scrutiny of umpiring, with Gold Coast coach Damien Hardwick urging quicker holding-the-ball calls to avoid putting players in dangerous positions.

One BigFooty member spotted another baffling umpire decision:

I’ve been watching / playing footy for 40+ years & I just saw one of the top 5 worst decisions ever.
GWS player streaming towards goal & gets pushed in the back as he kicks it.
His kick hits a GWS player inside 50 who kicks it to Hogan 25 metres out.
Umpire then calls the play back to where the push happened.
Absolutely baffling.
None of the 4 umpires could use any common sense & work this out.