Dane Rampe shakes the goal post during the post-siren shot on Friday night.
Dane Rampe shakes the goal post during the post-siren shot on Friday night.

Worsfold takes aim at umpires after goalpost fiasco

BOMBERS coach John Worsfold has said his club "doesn't really cop" the explanation that umpires were within their rights to use discretion not to penalise Dane Rampe in the dramatic Friday night thriller in Sydney.

Rampe was on Monday charged with conduct unbecoming for climbing the goalpost.

The AFL issued the Swans with a "please explain" despite two days earlier clearing the on-field umpires of any wrongdoing in the dramatic Friday night finish at the SCG.

Rampe sent the AFL world into meltdown by doing a Spider-Man impersonation in climbing the goalpost, causing it to shake as Essendon's David Myers - a prodigious kick by anyone's standards - launched an after-the-siren shot at goal from 60m out.

The kick didn't make the trip but Essendon stars Jake Stringer and Cale Hooker remonstrated on the ground with umpire Andre Gianfagna, demanding a free kick from the goal line - as stipulated under the laws of the game.

On Monday night, Worsfold expressed his club's genuine hurt over the incident because of the dangerous, seismic precedent it created for umpires to disregard the rules and instead apply their own gut feelings surrounding big decisions.

Speaking on Channel 7's Talking Footy, Worsfold said there were double standards at play because his team received a 100m penalty - when the rules were applied hard and fast - while Sydney escaped the same fate because the umpires used discretion not to award a free kick against Rampe.

Swan Colin O'Riordan kicked his first career goal after Devon Smith was smacked with a 50m penalty for impeding the Irish recruit as he ran down field following an initial 50m penalty paid against forward Jake Stringer for dropping the ball, instead of handing it to O'Riordan on the full, after a holding-the-ball call went against the Dons inside their own 50.

Worsfold suggested the umpires failed to give Smith the same warning Rampe received at the death.

"If something happens in the game that breaks the rules, you expect a free kick to be paid," Worsfold said.

"If it's not paid we all cop that, umpires miss free kicks. But we don't really cop that umpires have a choice to decide.

"A deliberate kick out of bounds, is that going to affect the game? If we were 25 points down would that be different? Would he have paid the free kick because it's not going to impact the game.

"Would they say, 'Essendon deserve a shot at goal because the bloke's broke the rules and we'll pay the free kick.'? The fact that it was going to influence the game, does that change the decision? I don't know.

"As coaches we would like to know what the rules are. Do the umpires have a chance to give a 100m penalty instead if someone runs alongside them and is that impeding the game?

"Or do they say, 'It's not really, get out of the way.'? Like they said, 'Dane get off the goalpost'.

"They could have said to Devon Smith get out of the way otherwise I'll pay another 50, but he didn't do that, they decided to pay the 100m penalty."

The AFL's move to censure Rampe without scrutinising the umpires came as AFL boss Gillon McLachlan called the decision not to ping Rampe with a match-deciding free-kick as "pragmatic" umpiring.

"I'll wait and see what the footy department says, but for me it seems pretty practical umpiring," McLachlan told SEN.

"Apparently there is lots of different camera angles. But he gave him the warning and the guy got down and it didn't impact on the play.

"That seemed to be a very practical response. People are getting into the technicalities of what the rule says, but if he'd stayed there it would have been a free kick. He gave him the warning and it didn't impact the play.

"It seemed a pretty pragmatic piece of umpiring."

But now it seems that the AFL have changed their stance and, as reported by the Herald Sun's chief football writer, Mark Robinson, charged Rampe for the act.

The unbelievable moment was followed by severe backlash on Friday, which only amplified following McLachlan's comments the day after.

Now the latest news has left fans scratching their heads and left one former Western Bulldogs star up in arms.

On Tuesday morning, Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley told SEN Adelaide he was "staggered" to see the footage of Rampe climbing the post.

The Herald Sun's Jon Ralph also told Macquarie Sports Radio that Rampe was an "idiot" for naively climbing the post without realising the rules.

If the letter of the law had of been followed, Myers would have been awarded a free kick from the goal line and would have kicked the match-winning goal.

It would have left Essendon with a 4-4 record, instead they sit fuming over the non-decision and in 13th spot on the ladder at 3-5.

The outrage over the incident was led by Aussie comedian and media personality Dave Hughes, who believes the Bombers "should appeal the result".

Hughes was far from alone in condemning the AFL's swift attempt to dismiss the outcry, with Ralph labelling the fiasco "a bats*** crazy 20 seconds of football".

Rampe addressed the two incidents on Monday after his coach John Longmire had addressed the media earlier in the day.

Longmire said: "You address it and move on. That's all you can do as a player and coach - look at that, speak about it and get on with the next thing.

"He's a real quality person. He made a couple of mistakes, he'll learn from that and move on.

"I spoke to him on Saturday morning and he said, 'I just genuinely didn't know the rule,'" Longmire said.

"I said, 'Well you do now and it'd be best to stay away from goalposts in the future'.

"It was a pretty brief conversation and, it's fair to say, I wouldn't expect him to do it in the future."

Rampe said: "Being called a girl is something that should be celebrated and I genuinely mean that. I've learnt from my mistake and I'll definitely keep that front of mind going forward.

"I just want it to be known that by no means did I mean any disrespect by (comments to the umpire at the end of the second quarter of the win over Essendon).

"I know it's a hard job they do. And at times my frustrations can boil over but I hope that's seen or portrayed in a way that shows my passion and excitement for the role I play in the team.

"I put my hand up and say I can overstep the mark at times and I will keep that in mind going forward."

Rampe addressed the now infamous goalpost climb and admitted the moment was purely a brain fade.

"I don't know what I was thinking, to be honest, at the time, but my intention was certainly not to shake the post," he said.

"There was a bit going on down there at the time, and I think I just got caught up in the emotion of it.

"Safe to say I won't be doing it again. I'm a little bit embarrassed by it, but I guess there was no malice intended."

News Corp Australia

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