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Encyclopedia > AFL siren controversy, 2006

The AFL siren controversy of 2006 (dubbed Sirengate) was the controversy surrounding the conclusion and result of an Australian rules football match played on 30 April 2006 during Round 5 of the Australian Football League's 2006 season. The match was played between the St Kilda Saints and the Fremantle Dockers at Aurora Stadium (aka York Park) in Launceston, Tasmania. When the final siren sounded, Fremantle were leading by one point, but the umpires did not hear the siren and play continued for around twenty seconds, during which time St Kilda scored a point to tie the match. Four days after the match concluded, the AFL commission determined that the match should have been ended when the first siren sounded, stripped St Kilda of the final behind, and therefore the two competition points for a draw they prematurely received, and awarded the victory, and the full four points for a win, to Fremantle. It was only the second time in VFL/AFL history that the score and result of a game was changed on protest, with the first occurring 106 years previous. High marking is a key skill and spectator attribute of Aussie Rules Precise field and goal kicking using the oval shaped ball is the key skill in Aussie Rules Football Australian rules football, also known as Australian football, Aussie rules, or simply football or footy is a code of football... April 30 is the 120th day of the year (121st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... This article is about the national league in Australian rules football. ... Results and statistics for the Australian Football League season of 2006. ... The St Kilda Football Club, nicknamed The Saints, is an Australian rules football club playing in the Australian Football League. ... Fremantle Football Club, nicknamed The Dockers and known unofficially as the Fremantle Dockers and informally as Freo, is one of 16 teams in the Australian Football League. ... York Park (also known as Aurora Stadium) is the major Australian Rules Football ground located in the city of Launceston, Tasmania, Australia. ... Launceston is a city in the north of the state of Tasmania, Australia, population approximately 103,000, located at the juncture of the North Esk, South Esk, and Tamar rivers. ...

Contents

Fixture and venue

The match was played between St Kilda and Fremantle at Aurora Stadium in Launceston, Tasmania. Both teams went into the match with two wins and two losses, and many media commentators had commented on the importance of the match to both teams.


The two teams had developed an intense rivalry in recent seasons, with a number of games between the two teams ending in very close margins of victory. The previous match between the clubs had been highly controversial, with Fremantle coming from behind to win by 5 points after Justin Longmuir took a mark with seconds left in the match, then kicked a goal after the siren. Numerous contentious free kicks in the match had angered Saints fans, and the anger was intensified by the subsequent "Whispers in the Sky" controversy. Justin Longmuir (born 21 January 1981) is an Australian rules footballer in the Australian Football League. ... Whispers in the Sky refers to an Australian rules football controversy in 2005. ...


Aurora Stadium was not a regular venue for AFL matches, having previously hosted only 16 regular season AFL matches. Although officially a home game for St Kilda, the venue is over 400 kilometres from the club's home city of Melbourne, and St Kilda had previously played only six matches there for three wins and three losses. Melbournes CBD has grown to straddle the Yarra River in three major precincts. ...


Fremantle had played at the venue five times and were yet to win a match there, although they had been involved in several close losses. One of these losses was in the only previous match between the two teams at the ground, which St Kilda had won by a single point after receiving a contentious holding the ball free kick in the final minute of the game when scores were level [1]. Another one of those losses included a 22-point defeat to Hawthorn only four weeks earlier. Holding the ball is a rule in Australian rules football. ... The Hawthorn Football Club, nicknamed The Hawks, are an Australian rules football club playing in the Australian Football League (AFL). ...


In previous matches, the low sound level of York Park's siren had been the topic of some discussion in the media, with some commentators calling for it to be replaced.


The Teams

St. Kilda Saints

St. Kilda Saints Line-Up
B: Steven Baker Max Hudghton Brett Voss
HB: Jason Gram Matt Maguire Samuel Fisher
C: Xavier Clarke Luke Ball (captain) Troy Schwarze
HF: Andrew Thompson Nick Riewoldt Robert Harvey
F: Stephen Milne Fraser Gehrig Aaron Fiora
Foll: Jason Blake Lenny Hayes Nick Dal Santo
Int: Leigh Montagna Andrew McQualter Brendon Goddard
Allan Murray
Coach: Grant Thomas

In the sport of Australian rules football, each of the eighteen players in a team are assigned to a particular named position on the field of play. ... Steven Bakes Paul Baker (born May 22, 1980) was drafted in the 1998 AFL Draft in a second round priorty pick to the St Kilda Football Club at pick 27. ... Max Kenneth Hudghton (born September 2, 1976) is an Australian rules footballer in the Australian Football League. ... Brett Charles Voss (born February 22, 1978) is an Australian rules football player with the St Kilda Football Club. ... In the sport of Australian rules football, each of the eighteen players in a team are assigned to a particular named position on the field of play. ... Jason Gram (born 27 April 1984) is an Australian rules footballer in the Australian Football League. ... Categories: Australian Rules footballers | St Kilda Saints players ... Samuel Fisher (born July 10, 1982) is an Australian rules footballer in the Australian Football League. ... In the sport of Australian rules football, each of the eighteen players in a team are assigned to a particular named position on the field of play. ... Xavier Clarke (born September 28, 1983) is an Australian rules football player with the AFLs St Kilda Football Club. ... Luke Ball (born 25 May 1984) is an Australian rules footballer. ... Troy Schwarze (born December 23, 1981) is an Australian rules footballer in the Australian Football League. ... In the sport of Australian rules football, each of the eighteen players in a team are assigned to a particular named position on the field of play. ... Andrew Laurence Scott Thompson (born October 21, 1972) is an Australian rules footballer in the Australian Football League. ... Nick Riewoldt (born October 17, 1982) was the captain of the St Kilda Football Club in the Australian Football League for the 2005 season before being replaced by Luke Ball in 2006. ... Robert Jeffrey Harvey (born August 21, 1971) is an Australian Rules Football Player in the Australian Football League recognised as one of the Leagues best midfielders and noted for his supreme endurance. ... In the sport of Australian rules football, each of the eighteen players in a team are assigned to a particular named position on the field of play. ... Stephen Milne (born March 8, 1980) is an Australian rules footballer in the Australian Football League. ... Fraser Gehrig (born March 3, 1976) a player for the St Kilda Australian rules football club in the Australian Football League. ... Aaron Fiora (born April 19, 1981) is an Australian rules footballer in the Australian Football League. ... In the sport of Australian rules football, each of the eighteen players in a team are assigned to a particular named position on the field of play. ... Jason Blake (born March 15, 1981) is an Australian rules footballer in the Australian Football League. ... Lenny Hayes (born 14 January 1980) is an Australian rules footballer. ... Nick Dal Santo (born February 22, 1984) is an Australian rules footballer in the AFL with the St Kilda Football Club. ... In the sport of Australian rules football, each of the eighteen players in a team are assigned to a particular named position on the field of play. ... Leigh Montagna (born November 2, 1983) is an Australian rules footballer in the Australian Football League. ... Andrew McQualter (born June 9, 1986) is a midfielder for St Kilda in the Australian Football League. ... Brendon Goddard (born May 20, 1985) is a midfielder for St Kilda in the Australian Football League. ... Allan Murray (born May 20, 1982) is an Australian rules footballer in the Australian Football League. ... In sports, a coach or manager is an individual involved in the direction and instruction of the on-field operations of an athletic team or of individual athletes. ... Grant Thomas (born February 14, 1958) is a former Australian rules football player and coach. ...

Fremantle Dockers

Fremantle Dockers Line-Up
B: Paul Duffield Michael Johnson Shane Parker
HB: Scott Thornton Antoni Grover Steven Dodd
C: David Mundy Josh Carr Shaun McManus
HF: Matthew Pavlich Luke McPharlin Des Headland
F: Jeff Farmer Troy Cook Graham Polak
Foll: Aaron Sandilands Byron Schammer Peter F. Bell (captain)
Int: Matthew Carr Ryan Crowley Heath Black
Daniel Gilmore
Coach: Chris Connolly

Brownlow votes: 3. Matthew Pavlich 2. Josh Carr 1. Brett Voss In the sport of Australian rules football, each of the eighteen players in a team are assigned to a particular named position on the field of play. ... Paul Duffield (born February 5, 1985) is an Australian rules footballer. ... Michael Johnson may refer to: Michael Johnson (athlete) (born 1967) Michael Johnson (politician) (born 1970) Michael Johnson (singer) (born 1944) Michael Johnson (Drummer) (born 1982) Michael Johnson (Montana) Michael Johnson (Australian rules footballer), Aboriginal footballer with Fremantle Michael Johnson (footballer), Jamaican footballer with Derby County This human name article is... Shane Parker (born March 18, 1973) is an Australian rules footballer who plays for the Fremantle Football Club. ... In the sport of Australian rules football, each of the eighteen players in a team are assigned to a particular named position on the field of play. ... Scott Thornton (born January 9, 1971 in London, Ontario, Canada) is a professional ice hockey winger. ... Antoni Grover (born March 11, 1980) is a defender for the Fremantle Dockers. ... Steven Dodd (born June 20, 1983) is a defensive midfielder for the Fremantle Dockers. ... In the sport of Australian rules football, each of the eighteen players in a team are assigned to a particular named position on the field of play. ... David Mundy (born July 20, 1985) is an Australian rules footballer. ... Josh Carr (born April 29, 1980) is an Australian rules footballer. ... Shaun McManus (born February 9, 1976) is an Australian rules footballer. ... In the sport of Australian rules football, each of the eighteen players in a team are assigned to a particular named position on the field of play. ... Matthew Pavlich (b. ... Luke McPharlin (Born 1 December 1981) is an Australian Rules Football player for the Fremantle Football Club. ... Des Headland (born January 21, 1981) is an Australian rules footballer. ... In the sport of Australian rules football, each of the eighteen players in a team are assigned to a particular named position on the field of play. ... Farmer as The nWo Sting Jeff Farmer is a professional wrestler best known as The nWo Sting or Imposter Sting. ... Troy Cook (born August 12, 1976) is an Australian rules footballer. ... Graham Polak (born 16 June 1984) is a new recruit for the Richmond Tigers Australian rules football team. ... In the sport of Australian rules football, each of the eighteen players in a team are assigned to a particular named position on the field of play. ... Aaron Sandilands (born 6 December 1982) is an Australian rules footballer. ... Byron Schammer is a player with the Fremantle Football Club in the Australian Football League. ... Peter F. Bell (born March 1, 1976) is an Australian rules footballer. ... In the sport of Australian rules football, each of the eighteen players in a team are assigned to a particular named position on the field of play. ... Matthew Carr (born April 29, 1980) is an Australian rules footballer. ... Ryan Crowley (born March 5, 1984) is an Australian rules footballer. ... Heath Black (born May 28, 1979) is an Australian rules footballer. ... Daniel Gilmore (born March 2, 1983) is a defender for the Fremantle Dockers. ... In sports, a coach or manager is an individual involved in the direction and instruction of the on-field operations of an athletic team or of individual athletes. ... After three years and 67 games at Fremantle Chris Connolly has guided the club to a win/loss record of better than 50% making him the most successful Senior Coach in Fremantle history. ... The Charles Brownlow Trophy, better known as the Brownlow Medal and colloquially as Charlie, is the medal awarded to the best and fairest player in the Australian Football League during the regular season (ie not including finals matches) as decided upon by umpires. ...


The match

Fremantle were leading by 27 points midway through the third quarter when St Kilda full forward Fraser Gehrig conceded five consecutive free kicks during a scuffle with a number of Fremantle defenders. Three of the free kicks were converted to consecutive fifty-metre penalties, with the result that Fremantle full-back Michael Johnson walked the length of the ground to kick a goal that gave Fremantle a 33 point lead. Fraser Gehrig (born March 3, 1976) a player for the St Kilda Australian rules football club in the Australian Football League. ... Michael Johnson may refer to: Michael Johnson (athlete) (born 1967) Michael Johnson (politician) (born 1970) Michael Johnson (singer) (born 1944) Michael Johnson (Drummer) (born 1982) Michael Johnson (Montana) Michael Johnson (Australian rules footballer), Aboriginal footballer with Fremantle Michael Johnson (footballer), Jamaican footballer with Derby County This human name article is...


St Kilda coach Grant Thomas responded by benching the angry Gehrig. Shortly afterwards he benched tall forward Nick Riewoldt, replacing the forward line with smaller targets in Stephen Milne and Brett Voss. St Kilda then kicked seven of the next nine goals to move to within one point of the Dockers with less than a minute to play in the final quarter. This momentum shift came at a point where Fremantle were "killing the clock", and with 8 minutes remaining took to chipping the ball around to prevent St Kilda scoring. They were aiming to defend rather than attack, and this let St Kilda back into the match. Grant Thomas (born February 14, 1958) is a former Australian rules football player and coach. ... Nick Riewoldt (born October 17, 1982) was the captain of the St Kilda Football Club in the Australian Football League for the 2005 season before being replaced by Luke Ball in 2006. ... Stephen Milne (born March 8, 1980) is an Australian rules footballer in the Australian Football League. ... Brett Charles Voss (born February 22, 1978) is an Australian rules football player with the St Kilda Football Club. ... Killing the clock is a term used in timed sports such as American football or Basketball to indicate a strategy by a winning team to stall until time runs out when the score is close; thus preventing the opposing team from tying or taking the lead towards the end of...


Scorecard

St Kilda Saints vs Fremantle Dockers
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Final
St Kilda Saints 2.5.(17) 6.7.(43) 9.9.(63) 13.15.(93)
Fremantle Dockers 5.2.(32) 10.5.(65) 12.7.(79) 14.10.(94)
Venue: Aurora Stadium, Launceston, Tasmania
Date and time: April 30, 2006 – 1:10PM AEST
Attendance: 15,282
Umpires: Vozzo, Kennedy, Nicholls
Goal scorers: St. Kilda 3: Fraser Gehrig
2: Stephen Milne
1: Brett Voss, Jason Blake, Nick Dal Santo, Leigh Montagna, Allan Murray, Nick Riewoldt
Fremantle 6: Matthew Pavlich
3: Jeff Farmer
2: Luke McPharlin
1: Daniel Gilmore, Des Headland, Michael Johnson
Best: St. Kilda Blake, Dal Santo, Ball, Fisher, Voss, Harvey
Fremantle Pavlich, Johnson, Farmer, Bell, J.Carr
Reports: St. Kilda: Gehrig for striking J.Carr in the first quarter, Hudghton for spitting at McPharlin in the first quarter, Hayes for attempting to strike Dodd in the first quarter
Fremantle: Farmer for striking Harvey in the first quarter
Injuries: St. Kilda: Hudghton (hand)
Fremantle: McManus (leg)

The St. ... Fremantle Football Club, nicknamed The Dockers and known unofficially as the Fremantle Dockers and informally as Freo, is one of 16 teams in the Australian Football League. ... The St. ... Fremantle Football Club, nicknamed The Dockers and known unofficially as the Fremantle Dockers and informally as Freo, is one of 16 teams in the Australian Football League. ... York Park (now known as Aurora Stadium) is the major Australian rules football ground located in Inveresk, an inner city suburb of Launceston, Tasmania, Australia. ... Launceston is a city in the north of the state of Tasmania, Australia, population approximately 103,000, located at the juncture of the North Esk, South Esk, and Tamar rivers. ... April 30 is the 120th day of the year (121st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... Time Zone is also a historical computer game. ... Michael Vozzo is an Australian rules football field umpire in the Australian Football League. ... Hayden Kennedy (born c. ... Small TextMatthew Nicholls is an Australian rules football field umpire in the Australian Football League. ... The St. ... Fremantle Football Club, nicknamed The Dockers and known unofficially as the Fremantle Dockers and informally as Freo, is one of 16 teams in the Australian Football League. ... The St. ... Fremantle Football Club, nicknamed The Dockers and known unofficially as the Fremantle Dockers and informally as Freo, is one of 16 teams in the Australian Football League. ...

Reports

Several reports were made during the clash all during a spiteful first quarter. Three Saints and one Docker were cited.

  • Max Hudghton was reported for spitting at Luke McPharlin in the first quarter.
  • Fraser Gehrig was reported for striking Josh Carr in the first quarter.
  • Jeff Farmer was reported for striking Robert Harvey in the first quarter.
  • Lenny Hayes was reported for attempting to strike Steven Dodd in the first quarter.

Final minute controversy

With 37 seconds remaining in the game, St Kilda's Leigh Montagna scored a goal to bring the Saints within 1 point of Fremantle. Following the centre bounce, St Kilda moved the ball into their forward line, where a pack formed about 45 metres from the St Kilda goal and a ball-up was called by the umpire with 8 seconds remaining. Leigh Montagna (born November 2, 1983) is an Australian rules footballer in the Australian Football League. ... A ball-up in Australian rules football describes a method of restarting play after a stoppage within the field of play. ...


Nick Riewoldt knocked the ball across the field and another pack formed as the official time-keeper's clock reached 0:00 (the time-keeper's clock is displayed on the television broadcast). Umpire Matthew Nicholls signalled his intention to bounce the ball to restart play, oblivious to the barely audible siren which was sounded. A number of Fremantle players, particularly Scott Thornton, appeared to have either heard the siren or reacted to other players hearing the siren. Small TextMatthew Nicholls is an Australian rules football field umpire in the Australian Football League. ... A ball-up in Australian rules football describes a method of restarting play after a stoppage within the field of play. ... Scott Thornton is a defender for the Fremantle Dockers. ...


At this point, the Fremantle players began to celebrate what they thought was a one-point victory. Nicholls, however, did not hear the siren, and refused to listen to the claims of Fremantle players, particularly Byron Schammer, that the siren had sounded. He also did not confer with the other two umpires as to whether the siren had sounded. Nicholls bounced the ball to restart play, and the Fremantle players, who believed the game to be over, defended the stoppage poorly. Byron Schammer is a player with the Fremantle Football Club in the Australian Football League. ...


The ball was cleared to St Kilda defender Steven Baker, who kicked a behind from around 35 metres out to tie the game. Whilst this kick was in motion, the time-keeper sounded the siren again, and this time it was heard by one of the other field umpires, Hayden Kennedy. The rules of Australian football allow for kicks for goal to be counted if they are in the air when the umpire hears the siren. Steven Bakes Paul Baker (born May 22, 1980) was drafted in the 1998 AFL Draft in a second round priorty pick to the St Kilda Football Club at pick 27. ... Australian Footballat the Melbourne Cricket Ground. ... Hayden Kennedy (born c. ...


Of the few Dockers who were paying attention at the final stoppage, Fremantle's Daniel Gilmore, chased down St Kilda defender Steven Baker. In desperation, he managed to bump Baker just after the kick. Confusion reigned at this point. The three field umpires and goal umpire conferred to discuss the result. Nicholls ruled that Baker's shot had been within game time, and that the bump was after the shot for goal and a free kick was awarded. This meant that Baker was given the option of letting the point stand or canceling the point and shooting for goal again. Daniel Gilmore (born March 2, 1983) is a defender for the Fremantle Dockers. ... Steven Bakes Paul Baker (born May 22, 1980) was drafted in the 1998 AFL Draft in a second round priorty pick to the St Kilda Football Club at pick 27. ...


A number of Fremantle players, particularly Des Headland, overheard Nicholls stating that the point would not stand, and again began to celebrate in the belief that they had been awarded the match. At this time Fremantle coach Chris Connolly and CEO Cameron Schwab had stormed onto the ground. Saints captain Lenny Hayes yelled at Connolly to leave the ground and former teammate Heath Black stepped in to separate the two. Des Headland (born January 21, 1981) is an Australian rules footballer. ... After three years and 67 games at Fremantle Chris Connolly has guided the club to a win/loss record of better than 50% making him the most successful Senior Coach in Fremantle history. ... Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the job of having the ultimate executive responsibility or authority within an organization or corporation. ... Lenny Hayes (born 14 January 1980) is an Australian rules footballer. ... Heath Black (born May 28, 1979) is an Australian rules footballer. ...


Baker elected to take another shot at goal, but again kicked a behind. After Baker's behind, the two goal umpires then compared their score sheets and signalled that the scores on the scoreboard were correct and that the match was a draw.


It later emerged that the time keeper had believed that the first siren had been acknowledged when he saw the Fremantle players celebrating the win and the umpire calling for the ball. He then began to do paperwork, paying no attention to the continuing match, and was not made aware that play was continuing until a spectator got his attention by striking his window with an empty bottle. He then sounded the siren a second time.


Coincidentally, later that afternoon in Melbourne, another AFL game between Essendon and Hawthorn finished in near identical circumstances, with Hawthorn winning by 1 point. The siren sounded with the umpire calling for a ball-up about 40 metres from the Essendon goal, but in this case the louder MCG siren was heard by the umpires and no further play was allowed.


Relevant rules

The relevant clauses of the official AFL rules are: A ruck contest in Australian rules. ...

"10.4.1 The timekeepers shall sound the siren to signal the end of a quarter until a field umpire acknowledges that the siren has been heard and brings play to an end."

and

"10.4.2 Play in each quarter shall come to an end when any one of the field umpires hears the signal."

Most commentators agree that the timekeepers erred with respect to Rule 10.4.1; that is, the siren did not continue to sound until it was formally acknowledged by an umpire. Acknowledgement of the siren requires any one of the three field umpires to raise both arms into the air and blow the whistle. There remains some doubt as to whether any of the three umpires did hear the siren, but in any event, none chose to bring play to an end as required by Rule 10.4.2. This rule is well known by football fans and clearly states that the umpires are the sole judge of when a quarter ends. However, generally this is in terms of a split second decision as to whether a mark or kick occurred before or after the siren sounded, rather than the 25 seconds difference in this case.


Aftermath

Initial Result

Immediately after the match, Fremantle lodged an official protest, claiming to have won the game by a point. The AFL agreed to conduct a full investigation, and did not rule out overturning the result and awarding the match to Fremantle. However, the AFL still released the official round results that listed the result of the match as a draw.


Betting

As a result of the official results being issued on Sunday afternoon, most betting agencies paid out on a draw. Some smaller agencies also announced (before the AFL awarded the victory to Fremantle) that they would voluntarily pay out for the Fremantle win as a goodwill gesture. The largest sports bookmaker in Australia, TAB Sportsbet, however, refused to alter from the original decision, even after the AFL revised the official result, claiming that their conditions of betting clearly state that they pay based on the league's official AFL match results sheet, as received by fax shortly after each game.[2] A TAB in Melbourne Totalizator Agency Board in Australia and New Zealand, universally shortened to TAB, is the name given to state-run gambling organisations, some of which are now privatised. ...


Media coverage and analysis

As the goal umpires were signalling that the scores were correct, Nine Network reporter Michael Roberts interviewed Chris Connolly on the ground. Connolly was adamant that the siren had gone and said that the emergency umpire had thought Hayden Kennedy had heard the siren, so the game had finished before the final ball-up. He said "The right thing has got to be done... I'm sure the AFL will make the right decision". The Nine Network is an Australian television network, available in major markets across Australia. ... Michael Roberts (born July 27, 1959) is a former Australian rules footballer and now television sports journalist and reporter with the Nine Network. ...


A few minutes later in the changerooms, Roberts conducted an interview with St Kilda coach Grant Thomas who acknowledged that the Saints had played poorly and were happy to escape with a tie. Grant Thomas (born February 14, 1958) is a former Australian rules football player and coach. ...


In his post-match conference, Connolly stubbornly described the match as "a great win by the boys", and stated that "the Fremantle Football Club will leave no stone unturned for our 35000 supporters to get these four points".


Over the next few days, the incident received widespread coverage in the Australian sports media, with the Australian Football League website describing the match as "one of the most controversial matches of the modern era". The West Australian and Nine Network's The Footy Show dubbed the incident Sirengate, the -gate suffix being a reference to the Watergate scandal. The West Australian (often simply called The West) is Perths only locally edited daily newspaper, and is owned by ASX-listed West Australian Newspapers Limited. ... The Nine Network is an Australian television network, available in major markets across Australia. ... The Footy Show is an Australian sports television program, shown on the Nine Network and its affiliates. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The Watergate scandal was a 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at a Watergate Office Building in Washington, D.C. by members of Richard Nixons administration and the resulting cover-up which led to the resignation of the President. ...


Media analysis of the incident hinged on the interpretation of the relevant rules. Rule 10.4.2 implies that the match does not automatically end when the siren sounds, but rather continues until the umpire hears the siren and signals the end of the game. This would lead to the conclusion that the result must stand as a draw. However, Rule 10.4.1 requires the time-keeper to sound the siren continuously until an umpire acknowledges the siren and calls an end to play. This rule was not correctly observed by the time keeper. This leads to an argument that the match was not brought to an end according to the rules of the game, and that the outcome of the game was determined not within the playing arena but rather by external governance matters that are the responsibility of the AFL: the quality of match facilities and the performance of time-keeping duties. This line of argument leads to the view that natural justice required the game to be awarded to Fremantle. Natural justice is a legal philosophy used in some jurisdictions in the determination of just, or fair, processes in legal proceedings. ...


Investigation and ruling

The AFL football operations department commenced an investigation of the conclusion of this match, to be conducted by AFL Investigations Officers Allan Roberts and Bill Kneebone. After interviewing the umpires, timekeepers, AFL match manager and a spectator and reviewing the television replay they concluded that "It would appear that the timekeeper(s) have not complied with (Law 10.4.1 End of Quarter)." [3] Allan Roberts (28 October 1943 - 21 March 1990) was a British Labour Member of Parliament (MP) for Bootle from 1979 until his death in 1990 at the age of 46. ...


During a four hour hearing on Wednesday 3 May, the AFL Commission heard submissions from representatives of both teams and the AFL investigating officer. The result of the hearing was that Fremantle was awarded victory and four competition points, with the official final score reading St Kilda - 13.15.93, Fremantle - 14.10.94. On May 4, St Kilda ruled out a legal challenge to the outcome, ending any further uncertainty. May 3 is the 123rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (124th in leap years). ... The AFL Commission is the official governing body of the Australian Football League, the elite national Australian rules football competition in Australia. ...


The commission stressed that this decision was in response to a unique set of circumstances external to the game, rather than over-ruling an on-field umpiring decision; hence a precedent has not been set for the overturning of other controversial results. The key factor was that the timekeeper had not fulfilled his duties by failing to sound the siren continuously until the umpires acknowledged the end of the game. This prevented the umpires from being able to end the game at the correct time [4].


An upgrade of the York Park siren was implemented by grounds manager, former Western Bulldogs player, Robert Groenewegen, in May 2006, in anticipation of the Round 12 game at the venue. The Western Bulldogs, formerly known, and occasionally still referred to, as the Footscray Football Club, is an Australian Football League (AFL) club based at the Whitten Oval in Footscray, an inner western suburb of Melbourne. ... Robert Groenewegen (born 4 August 1960) was an Australian Footballer who played all of his 79 matches at the Footscray FC between 1978 and 1986, kicking a total of 29 goals in his career. ...


The following week

St Kilda, after being stripped of the points mid-week, arrived at Telstra Dome desperate to put their season back on track against a Western Bulldogs side that had suffered its first loss of 2006 only a day before St Kilda's match, a 70+ point loss to Adelaide. Justin Koschitzke, who missed the previous match with a knee injury, was knocked unconscious in the third quarter after a collision with Daniel Giansiracusa. St Kilda won by 14 points. {{Infobox_Stadium | stadium_name = Telstra Dome | nickname = The Dome, Docklands Stadium| image = | location = Docklands, Melbourne | broke_ground = 1996| opened = 2000| closed = N/A| demolished = N/A| owner = James Fielding Funds Management| operator = Melbourne Stadiums LimitedAccess One| surface = Grass| construction_cost = $250 million AUD|lbourne. ... The Western Bulldogs, formerly known, and occasionally still referred to, as the Footscray Football Club, is an Australian Football League (AFL) club based at the Whitten Oval in Footscray, an inner western suburb of Melbourne. ... The Adelaide Football Club, nicknamed the Crows, is an Australian rules football club playing in the Australian Football League, based in Adelaide, South Australia. ... Justin Gregory Koschitzke (born 20 September 1982) is an Australian rules footballer in the Australian Football League. ... Daniel Giansiracusa (born March 11, 1982) is an Australian rules football player for the Western Bulldogs who plays in various positions such as the midfield, half back flanks and half forward flanks. ...


Fremantle, on the other hand, was drawn to play the previously undefeated West Coast Eagles who had thrashed the Brisbane Lions the previous week. After an up-and-down match, the Dockers found the best way to win with a goal after being down by 1 point. Fremantle won by 5 points. The West Coast Eagles Football Club is an Australian rules football club competing in the Australian Football League. ... The Brisbane Lions Australian Football Club (the trading name for the Brisbane Bears-Fitzroy Football Club) are an Australian Football League club based in Brisbane, Queensland. ...


End of season

The result proved vitally important when determining the ladder placings at the conclusion of the home-and-away season. Fremantle finished with a record of 15-7 in third place, and St Kilda finished with a record of 14-8 in sixth place, with Sydney and Collingwood finishing fourth and fifth. If the draw and all other results had stood (an unreasonable assumption, but yielding an interesting result), Fremantle and St Kilda would have been level on 14-7-1; St Kilda's superior percentage would have seen them finish third, with Fremantle fourth, Sydney fifth and Collingwood sixth. This would have affected all four games in the first week of the finals, so that the fixture would have read:


Qualifying Finals

  • West Coast v Fremantle
  • Adelaide v St. Kilda

Elimination Finals

  • Sydney v Western Bulldogs
  • Collingwood v Melbourne

There had been ongoing speculation that failure to reach the finals in 2006 would cost Fremantle coach Chris Connolly his job at the club, and that the two points potentially lost by the siren mistake could be the difference between making or missing the finals. Ironically, however, it was St Kilda coach Grant Thomas who was dismissed at the end of the season after (but not necessarily because) the club was eliminated in the first week of the finals, something which could not have happened if St Kilda had finished third and claimed a double-chance.


Similar incidents

  • Round 1, 1900 saw the only precedent of a VFL/AFL match result being overturned on a similar appeal. St Kilda and Melbourne were level 10.8.68 drew 9.14.68 at the end of play. St Kilda then successfully claimed that Melbourne scored one of their behinds after the three-quarter time siren, and the score was amended such that St Kilda won by one point. This was, in fact, St Kilda's first ever VFL win after forty-eight losses from 1897-1899; it would not be until its seventy-ninth game that St Kilda would celebrate a win on the day of the match.
  • A 2002 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Canberra Raiders ended in controversy, with the final siren going with Canberra a point ahead 21-20. Referee Paul Simpkins stopped the clock and restarted play with a second remaining. In this time, a kick by Canberra's Brett Finch was smothered and bounced back into play. A penalty was awarded in the Dragons' favour and took the quick tap. With no time left, the Dragons kicked a field goal to equal scores.
  • A 2006 NTFL match between Latrobe and Penguin ended in controversy, with a Penguin player kicking a goal directly on the final siren. The umpires conferred and rejected the goal, with Latrobe winning by five points.

The St Kilda Football Club, nicknamed The Saints, is an Australian rules football club playing in the Australian Football League. ... Melbourne Football Club logo The Melbourne Football Club, nicknamed The Demons since 1933, known in their early days as The Redlegs, is an Australian rules football club playing in the Australian Football League, based in Melbourne, Victoria. ... The St. ... The Canberra Raiders are a National Rugby League team based in Canberra, Australia. ... Brett Finch (born August 20, 1981 in Maitland, New South Wales, Australia) is an Australian Rugby League player for the Sydney Roosters in the National Rugby League competition. ...

References

  • Herald Sun
  • ABC Sport - Commission Set to Rule (3-5-06)
  • Investigation Report to Adrian Anderson
  • Podcast about the incident
  • Podcast about the Commissions decision

 
 

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