‘Worst nightmare’: Possible AFL umpire error costs Crows a finals spot

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The AFL could be facing its “worst nightmare” after an unreviewed error by a goal umpire in the final minutes of the Sydney and Adelaide game could influence the final positions in the top eight.

Sydney beat Adelaide by a point at Adelaide Oval but with a little over a minute left in the match, Crows midfielder Ben Keays appeared to have kicked the go-ahead goal but the goal umpire said it hit the post.

The decision wasn’t referred to the “arc” score review system and play went on despite Keays and two teammates celebrating like they had scored a goal while Sydney moved the ball down the ground and went on to win the game.

Replays shown after the game appear to show that the ball did not hit the post or the padding of the goal post, which commentators thought was possible at the time of the decision.

Crows coach Matthew Nicks said his club would put trust in “the process” that the AFL goes through after errors are made on decisions but he didn’t specifically say if the club would protest the result despite its influence on finals positions.

“My understanding is that we [umpires] review those moments, especially at the end of games,” Nicks said.

“We just put our trust in the process now. As a footy club, as a coach – that’s all we can do.”

The Swans win had major implications for the finals race as the loss ends Adelaide’s slim finals hopes and takes the Swans to 50 points and a likely spot in the finals – they still need to beat Melbourne in the final round to be sure of a place.

If Sydney had lost, St Kilda (52 points) would have been locked into the top eight and GWS Giants (48 points) would have remained ahead of the Swans going into the final round.

The Western Bulldogs (44 points), who play bottom side West Coast Eagles on Sunday, will also end the round on 48 points if they beat the Eagles as expected.

A Crows win would have seen them on 44 points with a very slim chance of winning in the final round and making the eight on percentage.

“This is the AFL’s worst nightmare,” Fox Footy commentator Cam Mooney said.

“On the eve of what has been one of the great finishes to a season, we’ve just got a big bungle.”

Swans coach John Longmire told journalists in Adelaide he hadn’t seen a replay of the Keays shot.

“Does it?” Longmire said looking surprised when told the replays appeared to show the ball hadn’t hit the post.

He also said his side did “a lot right” in the game leading by 32 points going into the last term.

When asked if he had discussed the Keays shot with the Swans players nearest to the post, he said no.

“No. We just talked about the last quarter in its entirety,” Longmire said.

“We went through those things, why they had a few scoring shots, there were a few things we didn’t get right.”

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