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AFL admits errors in Hawks-Cats thriller

Cats furious after non-paid 50 Huge controversy as a potentially crucial 50m penalty goes uncalled

THE AFL has admitted to two umpire errors in Saturday's Hawthorn-Geelong clash, with the League's umpiring department believing a 50m penalty should have been paid against Tom Mitchell in the last minute of the pulsating contest.

The League said goal umpire David Rodan's failure to alert the field umpire after Hawk Ryan Burton had clearly carried the ball through for a behind in the first quarter of Hawthorn's 11-point victory was also a mistake. 

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Mitchell was not penalised for kicking the ball forward after umpire Shaun Ryan had blown his whistle to award Geelong's Mark Blicavs a free kick for a ruck infringement with 53 seconds left in the game. 

A goal from Blicavs, who would have been brought into goal scoring range as a result of the 50m penalty, would have cut the margin to just six points with about 30 seconds left on the clock once the big man had taken his kick. 

Replays appeared to show Mitchell glance at the umpire, as other players stopped once the whistle had blown, before taking the opportunity to kick the ball his way.

"The umpiring department's view is they felt it should have been a 50-metre penalty," AFL spokesman Patrick Keane told AFL.com.au. 

It is understood Ryan gave Mitchell the benefit of the doubt as he thought the Hawk's kick was as he was blowing the whistle, not after the free kick had been paid against Jonathon Ceglar for impeding Blicavs' jump.

Cats players were left irate when the 50m penalty was not awarded.

The other controversial missed call occurred six minutes into the first quarter of the game when Burton escorted the football across the line as he attempted to clear the ball from defence.

As he did so, the whole ball clearly crossed the line with Rodan signalling a behind, along with the boundary umpire who was in the correct position against the behind post.

However, the field umpire did not hear Rodan's call and the play continued with Hawk Ryan Schoenmakers winning a free kick for holding the ball against Blicavs and then clearing the ball outside his defensive zone.

"It should have been registered as a point," Keane said.

"Once he (Rodan) signalled, he needed to make sure the umpire was aware of his decision on the communications link." 

Hawthorn midfielder Jaeger O'Meara's running goal at the 29-minute mark of the final quarter proved decisive, with Cat Tom Hawkins missing a set-shot from 25m out on a slight angle with three-and-a-half minutes remaining that would have cut the lead to just one point. 

The Hawks won the game by 11 points at the MCG and put themselves in the box seat to cement a finals berth.