Josh Thomas' “goal” wasn't overturned.
Josh Thomas' “goal” wasn't overturned.

‘The ball was touched’: AFL’s admission

The AFL has conceded the score review system made the wrong call on Saturday night during the thrilling preliminary final battle between GWS and Collingwood.

Magpies forward Josh Thomas' shot sailed through for a goal but several GWS players screamed the ball had been touched.

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A review was undertaken but the decision wasn't overturned with the reviewer deciding the footage wasn't conclusive to overturn the ruling.

Straight after the match the AFL ruled there was insufficient evidence for the goal to be overruled, but on Sunday they changed their stance.

"The AFL advises the silent score review following Collingwood player Josh Thomas' shot for goal in the fourth quarter of yesterday's preliminary final match has been assessed," a statement read.

"The AFL acknowledges that upon review the ball was touched by GWS Giants player Lachie Keeffe.

"In determining a decision, the reviewer must be clearly satisfied that there is sufficient evidence beyond reasonable doubt to overturn a decision.

"On this occasion, the reviewer at this time was not convinced the ball was touched beyond reasonable doubt to intervene the match and overturn the decision of the umpire. This is (in) line with the correct process for a silent review."

GWS board member and former Geelong champion Jimmy Bartel urged the AFL to take time when going through the review process.

"You can spend all the money you want on technology but you've still got to get the decision right," Bartel said on Channel 7's AFL Gameday.

"Take your time. I know there's pressure to get it done and get the ball back to the middle. But even being at the game last night, people on the big screen could see that was touched."

Fans, commentators and legends of the game saw things very differently straight away and the reaction was ugly viewing for the league.

"All clear - geez his finger was bent back then, controversy at the MCG," said Matthew Richardson on Channel 7.

"That decision is an absolute disgrace … we've got a review system for a reason, everybody could see that was a behind," Nathan Brown said on Triple M.

Channel 7's Luke Darcy was left seething in post-game commentary and couldn't believe the AFL didn't own up to the mistake immediately.

"I always say to the kids 'if you make a mistake, just put your hand up, admit you got it wrong, you don't get into further trouble'," he said.

"That doesn't seem to be the policy coming out of the score review system. If they didn't get that video, fair enough, but surely they're getting every stream.

"That's the idea of the ARC. If you looked at that vision, that's more than enough evidence, isn't it?"