Dane Rampe tangles with Essendon’s Orazio Fantasia last Friday night. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Dane Rampe tangles with Essendon’s Orazio Fantasia last Friday night. Picture: Phil Hillyard

Robinson: AFL baffles with goalpost saga

A staggering manoeuvre from Dane Rampe has brought a staggering turn of events.

On Tuesday morning, four days after Rampe climbed and thus shook the goalpost, he will face sanction for conduct unbecoming.

It is mind-boggling how the Swans defender might be penalised by the AFL and yet he was not penalised by the umpires on Friday night for the same action.

How this has played out has confused football fans and perplexed Essendon officials.

On Friday night, Rampe did not have a free kick paid against him.

On Saturday morning, AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan supported the decision. On Saturday afternoon, MRO Michael Christian gave a Rampe the green light.

On Monday morning, the AFL's football operations team issued Rampe with a "please explain".

An AFL spokesman told the Herald Sun possible charges for Rampe's actions would come under conduct unbecoming.

Still, it supported the umpires for not paying a free kick.

As for the MRO, Christian said on Monday it was the determination of the football operations department not to penalise Rampe during a Saturday review for the goalpost shenanigans or for accusing an umpire of "talking like a girl".

Strange then that Rampe is almost certain to be charged. He will face sanctions after he submits his please explain because he does not have an explanation.

"I don't know what I was thinking at the time, my intention was not to shake the post," Rampe said.

"I was caught up in the emotion. Safe to say I won't be doing that again."

Even Swans coach John Longmire spoke of "mistakes".

"He made a couple of mistakes, he'll learn from that and move on," he said.

Dane Rampe was issued with a “please explain” for jumping on the goalpost even though he wasn’t penalised on the night.
Dane Rampe was issued with a “please explain” for jumping on the goalpost even though he wasn’t penalised on the night.

Rampe could be fined or he could receive a warning.

The AFL rules allow for warnings, as was evident on Friday night when Rampe was told to get "down, down" but not penalised with a free kick.

The AFL was in pickle from the moment Rampe shifted his brain from alert to brain dead.

The issue is there's not a rule forbidding players from climbing a goalpost - only from shaking them - but the AFL does not want players climbing posts in the future.

It is confusing because the AFL's argument is that they support the decision not to pay a free kick, but are unhappy with Rampe's behaviour.

That's little comfort for the Bombers, who lost the match by five points and its fair to say they're losing a little bit of their mind as well.

Officially, it was a firm no comment from the club.

President Lindsay Tanner was quieter than that - he didn't return calls or texts.

 

Rampe argues with the umpire after being caught holding the ball. Picture: Phil Hillyard
Rampe argues with the umpire after being caught holding the ball. Picture: Phil Hillyard

 

 

But it can be revealed the club spoke to the AFL at the weekend and again.

They don't want to be seen as whingers or sore losers, but privately they are perplexed that some rules are adjudicated hard and fast - such as the second 50m penalty introduced this year, which is growing in its outrageousness - but not the rule about shaking a goalpost.

They have a strong argument because when the ball left David Myers' boot, Rampe was straddling the shaking goalpost.

How the umpire was able to use discretion and issue a warning but not a penalty in that moment is mind-boggling.

News Corp Australia


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