‘Turn off his mic’: Channel 7 torched
A pair of technical problems - both easy to fix - had the footy public as frustrated as viewers of the US presidential debate during Port Adelaide's win against Geelong in the first AFL qualifying final on Thursday night.
And just like the disgrace between Donald Trump and Joe Biden - one of them could be solved by simply switching off a microphone.
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Field umpire "Razor" Ray Chamberlain doesn't mind the spotlight and was trending on social media early in the encounter as his presence became larger than most of the players.
Free-kicks:— Brenton Speed (@BrentonSpeed) October 1, 2020
Razor Ray: 8 (2 goals)
Other 2 blokes in yellow: 2
Big first quarter from Razor! #finalsfooty
But what was most infuriating was how regularly his voice was inserted into the broadcast by Channel 7, who had the 44-year-old mic'd up in a half-empty stadium where his voice could be heard loud and clear.
Interesting using Razor Ray as a Special Comments man tonight.#AFLPowerCats— Sportsbet.com.au (@sportsbetcomau) October 1, 2020
The other problem - Chamberlain's struggles to bounce the ball high and straight at restarts after a goal - was just as fixable. At least in the eyes of Cats coach Chris Scott.
"Ray!" Scott shouted at Chamberlain after storming onto the ground at halftime. "You shouldn't be doing centre bounces! Pick it up!"
"You look at the position of where the ball is actually being bounced, the idea is you have a centre circle and both players get an even opportunity because the ball is bounced in the middle of that centre circle," Channel 7 commentator Jobe Watson said. "If you take it to one side, you immediately disadvantage one of the teams."
"Not sure Ray ate his wheaties this morning," added former Magpies star Dane Swan on Twitter. "Think he needs to throw it up."
After 19 free kicks were paid in the first half - a couple of them borderline - the whistle blowing slowed.
Port finished with 16 free kicks (below its season average of 16.7) and Geelong was paid 15 (just below its average of 15.1).
Scott was more measured post-game. "I'm not just saying this to pump them up - it's been a tough year for everyone," he said of the umpires.
"They've performed under adversity as well. It's a hostile environment here (at Adelaide Oval) and it was a genuine question I was asking them (at halftime). It wasn't a criticism and I don't have any criticism of the way they umpired the game. I don't think they had an influence, really at all...
"We'll draw 50 conclusions about (why we lost) the game before we start looking at a decision here or a decision there."
The Cats' inaccuracy in front of goal was far more crucial to the outcome in their 9.4 (58) to 5.12 (42) defeat.
AFL leading goalkicker Tom Hawkins was particularly wasteful, backing up his 0.4 haul in last year's qualifying final against Collingwood by kicking 0.5 against the Power.
Geelong will now face the winner of West Coast's clash with Collingwood and is expected to pick the Gabba as its home ground for the game in a final series that will feature no matches in Victoria.
Originally published as 'Turn off his mic': Channel 7 torched
Surprised Razor Ray didn’t get drafted given the impact he has on every game. #AFLPortCats— Titus O'Reily (@TitusOReily) October 1, 2020
Finals operator Razor Ray once again having an impact. #AFLPowerCats— James McKern (@jLmcKern) October 1, 2020
What’s the odds on Razor Ray winning the most influential player of the finals? #AFLPowerCats— Jack Hudson (@jhudson_10) October 1, 2020
The “if you know who’s umpiring, he’s probably doing a bad job” rule in full effect tonight.#AFLPowerCats— Richard Hinds (@rdhinds) October 1, 2020
A lot of footy’s problems could be solved by turning off Ray Chamberlain’s mic. #AFLPowerCats— Titus O'Reily (@TitusOReily) October 1, 2020