NO ROOM TO MOVE: Byron Magpies’ Sam Lucas (left) and Evan Davis put the clampers down on Lismore’s Lincoln Shinners in the SAFL grand final last month.
NO ROOM TO MOVE: Byron Magpies’ Sam Lucas (left) and Evan Davis put the clampers down on Lismore’s Lincoln Shinners in the SAFL grand final last month. DAVID NIELSEN

Ruling hands Byron SAFL premiership

THE Byron Magpies’ dramatic five-point Summerland AFL grand final win over Lismore will stand following an independent investigation by AFL Queensland, which handed down its decision late yesterday.

The SAFL grand final, played 13 days ago, became embroiled in controversy following the final play in which Lismore ruckman Jason Bevan’s kick bounced through for a goal.

But AFLQ investigators, after viewing television footage and a report of the play, deemed Bevan’s kick, which gave the Swans a one-point lead, as coming after the final siren.

Under the rules of Australian Football, a quarter is over at the point the umpire hears the siren.

It was Lismore’s contention that the kick had come before the siren.

At the time, Byron’s defenders ignored the ball as they began to celebrate, instead of stopping its momentum.

The goal umpire, after watching it bounce through for a major score, conferred with the central umpire who, having correctly deemed the untouched ball ‘live’, cleared the goal, which gave Lismore the game.

But that decision was overturned by the second umpire, who had ruled the kick as coming after the siren, and the result was returned to the Magpies.

Swans officials launched an appeal on the Tuesday, three days after the game.

A statement from the AFLQ investigators says, in part:

“The AFLQ’s appointed independent investigator ... on viewing the closing seconds of the (SAFL) grand final and, in accordance with the laws, the result of the grand final will stand.

“The AFLQ’s video review panel subsequently endorses the independent investigation.”

SAFL president George Pike yesterday said he was glad the saga was over.

The decision means the Byron Magpies have won three senior premierships in a row, and 12 overall.
Lismore, as the Swans, have yet to win a flag.

“I’m happy that it’s over. There were quite a few people hanging off on this decision,” Pike said.

“It’s probably something you didn’t want to happen, but Lismore had the right of appeal.

“It’s a pity it took this to decide the result. It overshadowed a fantastic game of football but, you know, we live in a democracy.

“You can understand the disappointment of Lismore losing a grand final after leading by six goals with a quarter and six minutes left to play.

“Perhaps it was the excitement of being so close to a premiership but at the end of the day the umpires control the game and it has been proven that their decision was right.”

When The Northern Star yesterday called Lismore officials, they said they were unaware of the AFLQ decision and couldn’t comment.


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