Richmond vs Brisbane Lions, umpires’ dangerous tackle calls slammed by Matthew Richardson, Grant Thomas

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AFL umpires have come under fire for their ‘dangerous tackle’ interpretation in Richmond’s blockbuster clash against Brisbane after three dubious calls in the first half.

The rule, which was brought in to protect players’ heads from hitting the turf in the typical ‘sling’ tackles, caused controversy in the second quarter with the three incidents occurring within minutes of each other.

Brisbane forward Joe Daniher was awarded a free kick for a dangerous tackle in his own forward 50, despite incorrectly disposing of the ball when he was tackled by Richmond ruckman Toby Nankervis.

Despite the tackle appearing to be legal, the umpires deemed that Daniher had been driven into the ground by Nankervis in an unsafe manner, thus giving the Lions star a shot on goal which he missed.

The umpires’ interpretation of the rule was slammed, with Richmond great Matthew Richardson tweeting that the rule had “lost the plot”.

However, it would only get worse for the umpires in the second quarter, when two umpires confused themselves over another dangerous tackle call.

The incident occurred with just under five minutes left in the quarter, when Jason Castagna was tackled on the wing by Lincoln McCarthy.

The umpire closest to the action immediately called holding the ball, awarding Brisbane the free kick, before the other umpire stationed on the boundary came in and awarded a free kick to Richmond for a dangerous tackle.

“So holding the ball was paid first, does dangerous tackle overrule that even though it happened afterwards?” lead commentator James Brayshaw asked on the Seven Network’s coverage. “The timeline is interesting.”

Fans were also left fuming at the call, with former AFL coach Grant Thomas joining the chorus.

“Dangerous tackle is the memo to umpires this week,” Thomas tweeted.

“How stupid is this game of ours when nobody knows the rules & they change interpretation weekly? How can it be taken seriously as an elite sport?”

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