Thrilling win marred by umpiring ‘howler’

The Sydney Swans have overcome a 29-point deficit to clinch a famous 14.6 (90) to 12.16 (88) victory over the Geelong Cats at the SCG on Saturday evening.

But the round seven match was embroiled in controversy after a contentious umpiring call late in the fourth quarter denied Geelong a potentially matchwinning mark.

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Swans small forward Tom Papley snapped a classy goal on his non-preferred foot in the penultimate minute of the final term to put Sydney ahead by two points.

What followed was a desperate scramble at the other end of the field as Geelong searched for a decisive goal in the dying moments.

But the umpires quickly intervened when Cats forward Jeremy Cameron thought he had secured a mark directly next to the posts.

The officials either believed the kick was less than 15 metres or it had been touched, and Cameron did not hear their calls of “play on” over the roaring Sydney crowd.

I’d love to buy real estate from this umpire. #AFLSwansCatshttps://t.co/cZnVfUu2gr

Western Bulldogs great Brad Johnson told Fox Footy: “They are a lot tighter on the old 15 at the moment.

“It’s borderline … (but) we’ve seen them paid.”

Four-time premiership player Jordan Lewis argued: “That’s 20 (metres).”

Moments later, Geelong skipper Joel Selwood wrapped up James Rowbottom in a tackle near the goalsquare, with the youngster potentially not making a genuine attempt to get rid of the ball.

But before the umpires could make a decision, the final siren sounded, sending the home crowd into a frenzy.

There was inevitably plenty of outrage on social media, but some footy pundits couldn’t resist reminding Geelong fans that their club benefited from a similar situation against the Brisbane Lions in late March.

Oh my, that's called 15 anywhere else on the ground. And a missed holding the ball for the duck? Karma perhaps for the Brisbane game. #AFLSwansCats

Reckon the footy gods just evened up that Brisbane/umpiring win earlier this year #AFLSwansCats

After the replay, that’s a howler of a decision.

You pay that 99 times out of 100. So many short kicks (8-9 meters) are paid a mark, and that misses out in the dying seconds… please. #AFLSwansCatshttps://t.co/TFzdpy70PM

Geelong will wonder how they failed to capitalise on their best first quarter of the season, kicking 6.5 in the opening term.

The quarter-time stat sheet made frightening reading for Sydney coach John Longmire, with the Cats racking up significant advantages in contested possessions (+18), uncontested marks (+28) and inside 50s (+13).

Sydney young sun Hayden McLean kicked a career-best four goals to help the Swans snap a two-match losing skid, thwarting Geelong’s bid for a third straight win.

McLean, whose four games this season have all come when Lance Franklin was unavailable, converted three second-half set shots after mustering some impressive contested marks.

Although Geelong led for much of the game, they ultimately failed to bury the Swans.

“To be able to build this up and turn it around was really impressive from the Swans,” Johnson told Fox Footy.

“They built the ball up well off half-back, they had good control with the ball and then at times went quick when they needed to and they were better defensively as a collective.

“It just allowed them to control it going inside 50. So they hit it just inside the 50m arc or just wide but still be effective with their shots on goal.”

— with NCA NewsWire

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