Adelaide Crows youngster Jake Soligo could be set for a stint on the sidelines after deliberately touching a goal umpire.
The 20-year-old had just soccered a clever goal past the desperate hands of Fremantle defender Matthew Johnson from within a metre of the goals before bursting away in celebration.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Jake Soligo to come under match review officer scrutiny.
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Bizarrely though, as Soligo was running off in elation, he turned to the goal umpire, who was unmoved at the goal post, and gave him a clearly deliberate push in the arm.
The umpire was undeterred by the strange act, but Soligo is certain to come under scrutiny, given the precedent here.
Toby Greene had the book thrown at him for brushing field umpire Matt Stevic after the siren had gone in the 2021 elimination final between GWS and Sydney in an act the AFL described as “aggressive, disrespectful and demonstrative”.
Greene was initially given a three-match ban by the match review officer (MRO), but the AFL appealed the decision, deeming the sanction “manifestly inadequate”.
The superstar small forward’s suspension was then doubled to six weeks.
Greene’s incident was made worse by his verbal exchange with Stevic, having clearly been disappointed with an umpiring decision, making it tough to argue the act was not demonstrative.
Soligo’s is less demonstrative, but clearly more deliberate.
All eyes will be on MRO Michael Christian for the decision he hands down to Soligo.
Meantime, Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir is perplexed at a lack of intensity in his side’s meek 39-point loss to Adelaide which leaves his club in early-season strife.
Longmuir says his players “went into our shells” as the Crows, inspired by captain Jordan Dawson, triumphed 17.9 (111) to 10.12 (72) at Adelaide Oval.
Dawson was superb with 28 disposals and a goal while Taylor Walker kicked four majors and prized recruit Izak Rankine and Josh Rachele slotted three apiece.
The Crows outgunned the lacklustre Dockers from the start, kicking four of the initial five goals en route to squaring their win-loss ledger after four rounds.
But Fremantle are in the mire with one win and three losses and coach Longmuir is troubled by their listless display.
“For whatever reason, when they (Adelaide) started getting their game going, we went into our shells,” Longmuir said.
“And I don’t know, I don’t have all the answers for every individual player, but they smashed us at 50-50 balls.”
Asked if he was surprised by the Dockers’ lack of intensity, Longmuire bluntly replied: “Yep. It’s not what we want to be.”
He suggested his players may still be basking in an after-glow of winning a final last year when the club ended a seven-year play-off drought.
“We need to forget last year … and live in the moment a little bit more and worry about what we’re doing now,” Longmuir said.
“Once an opposition gets on top of us, we’re going into our shell.
“And that is the responsibility of everyone – and everyone needs to show courage in those moments to get outside of themselves and connect with their teammates and stop the rot.”
The “rot” set in early against the Crows, who banked consecutive victories with first-year skipper Dawson their standout.
In a roaming role in midfield and defence, Dawson won five clearances, laid six tackles and had five inside 50s and five rebound 50s.
Triple club champion Rory Laird also gathered 28 possessions, Brodie Smith (24 touches) was dashing from half-back and an emerging young core headed by Jake Soligo (21 disposals, two goals) and Chayce Jones (21 touches) were prominent.
The comprehensive victory, which followed a 31-point win against arch foe Port Adelaide, thrilled coach Matthew Nicks.
“We talk about challenging the best and doing that consistently,” Nicks said.
“Where Freo have been at the last couple of years, this was a really big game for us and so our guys put it on each other and I thought we got that challenge done.
“This is all about momentum, about consistently performing – that word (consistently) that we haven’t been able to back-up to this point.”
– With AAP
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