AFL already talking to Crows over frees

The AFL is fine with the dramatic imbalance in Adelaide’s free kick count, so long as the decisions are correct.

AFL football manager Mark Evans also said on Monday that the crucial free kick paid to North Melbourne ruckman Todd Goldstein on Sunday was technically right.

League officials were already talking to the Crows over the weekend in the wake of Saturday night’s 15-point loss to the Western Bulldogs.

Crows fans are fuming about the umpiring, especially the 28-11 free kick count against their team.

Immediately post-match, coach Don Pyke and chief executive Andrew Fagan said the club would seek answers from the AFL umpiring department.

But Adelaide forward Josh Jenkins also said he thought 90 per cent of the frees against his team were correct.

And Evans added that the free-kick count itself was less important than a review of any contentious umpiring decisions.

“What I will say straight up is don’t get sucked in to just look at the count of free kicks,” he said.

“The real assessment is about whether they’re correct or not.

“So let’s not worry too much about a lopsided count.

“Even when we get through this review, there may still be a lopsided count – it’s not the important issue.”

Evans said he and former star player Luke Ball, now working in AFL football operations, had informal conversations with Crows officials over the weekend.

“We’ll get back to them today,” Evans added.

“As you would expect in every match, there are some free kicks there that favoured the Bulldogs and some that favoured Adelaide – we’ll give them that assessment this afternoon.

“Out of fairness to Adelaide, we’ll go through example by example with them, today or tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, Evans was lukewarm on the contentious free kick paid to Goldstein with less than two minutes left on Sunday at Etihad Stadium.

The free was paid against St Kilda’s Tom Hickey for a ruck infringement at a ball-up, 50m from the North Melbourne goal.

Goldstein then kicked a behind, putting the Kangaroos a point ahead.

Saints coach Alan Richardson admitted they botched the kick-in to re-start play and North forward Mason Wood eventually milked his set shot at the final siren to ensure the Kangaroos win.

“It does look like he’s impeded to get to the drop of the ball by someone who’s taking his eyes off the ball,” Evans said of the Goldstein incident.

“It’s one of those free kicks that is there – and is technically there.

“If it wasn’t paid, I’m not sure we’d die in a ditch over it, but the free kick was there.”

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