Richmond player Jayden Short fumbles the ball over the line, only to be penalised for deliberate out of bounds.
Richmond player Jayden Short fumbles the ball over the line, only to be penalised for deliberate out of bounds. Supplied

Calls for urgent change to AFL rules after Bulldogs drama

LEGEND Brent Harvey has called for the AFL to make an urgent rule change after controversy marred the Western Bulldogs' thrilling win over Richmond on Saturday.

The Bulldogs' five-point victory was overshadowed by a contentious free kick handed to the reigning premiers just as Richmond was mounting one final push for the lead.

Tigers player Jayden Short was judged to have deliberately sent the ball out of bounds, in the Richmond forward line - a decision that ultimately handed the Western Bulldogs the win.

Harvey revealed he was shocked at the decision and felt the umpires made a significant error, one that Richmond rightfully should be angered by.

"The initial part he is trying to hand ball, but in the second part he actually tries to grab the footy as well," Harvey told Fox Sports News.

"His hand is getting held, you can't call that. As an umpire that can't be called."

The AFL changed the wording of the deliberate out of bounds rule earlier this week, to allow umpires to penalise players who showed "insufficient intent".

But Harvey joined the likes of Richmond coach Damien Hardwick, who said the over policing of AFL rules was proving detrimental to the quality of football shown on-field this season.

The former North Melbourne star has urged AFL administrators to take immediate action to address the issue.

"I'm feeling for the umpires at the moment because their job is too hard - there are so many rules," Harvey said.

"The deliberate (rule) is getting worse and worse. I think we need to sit down and have a quick look at this.

"I don't think we wait until the end of the season because stuff like this is going to keep happening, so we need to go and have a quick look at it and change the rule slightly.

"If you're not willing to keep the ball in, they're going to pay it against you. I still think that's not deliberate out of bounds."

Surprisingly Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge sided with the Tigers on the highly disputed decision, likening the continued confusion around the issue to TV show Fawlty Towers.

But Richmond fans will not be laughing, as it seems the yellow and black have again been handed the short straw.

"That will not get paid again for the whole season. When there are players around you and you fumble the ball - the umpires never pay it," Harvey said.

News Corp Australia

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