The AFL has conceded Melbourne should have been awarded a free kick for Nick Murray’s handpass across the boundary line in the frantic final minute of their shock one-point defeat to Adelaide.
The Crows produced the upset of the season at Adelaide Oval on Saturday, ending the Demons’ undefeated start to 2021.
The visitors unsuccessfully appealed for a free kick in their forward line, searching for what could have been a match-winning goal with less than a minute remaining.
It came after under-pressure Adelaide fifth-gamer Murray handballed towards the boundary line.
A throw-in was called and the Crows hung on in front of a parochial home crowd.
The decision was reviewed on Monday by the AFL umpiring department, which conceded Murray should have been penalised.
“It was the view of the umpire in real-time, that from his angle there was a player in the vicinity and, as such, decided to call a throw-in,” the AFL said in a statement on Monday night.
“Upon video review, it was deemed the player did not display sufficient intent to keep the ball in play.”
The league’s admission comes amid some conjecture over whether Melbourne’s Charlie Spargo got a hand to the ball in an attempt to smother Murray’s handpass.
It is the third time the AFL has conceded a crucial umpiring error that has cost a team a possible match-winning shot at goal this season.
In round two, Zac Bailey should have been rewarded with a holding-the-ball free kick at the end of Brisbane’s defeat to Geelong.
In round seven, Jeremy Cameron should have been awarded a mark deep in attack during the final seconds of the Cats’ loss to Sydney.
On all three occasions, the team visiting from interstate has been on the wrong end of the decision.