AFL UMPIRES boss Wayne Campbell concedes Saturday night's holding-the-ball non-decision was an error.
Campbell admitted on Monday that Essendon's Mark Baguley should have been rewarded for a stellar tackle on Angus Monfries in the dying stages of the game at Adelaide Oval.
Instead, the umpires called play on and Port Adelaide kicked a goal that could have proved costly given the Bombers got up by two points.
But Campbell believed it was far from the howler that most pundits have held it up to be.
"We certainly don't think it was as cut and dry as what it seems the majority of the football public do," Campbell told radio station 3AW.
"We thought he had prior opportunity ... but we won't be hanging the umpire for not paying the free kick," he added, describing it as a "borderline" decision.
"If it had have been in the middle of the ground and at a different stage, it probably wouldn't have drawn the attention it did."
Holding the ball is likely to feature prominently when the League hosts a symposium at the end of the season, which will focus on umpiring and rules.
"Holding the ball has been an issue for 50 years," Campbell said.
"I don't think anyone has the absolute answer."
Melbourne coach Paul Roos said the recent addition of new rules and tweaking of old rules had created "pandemonium".
"I don't blame the umpires at all, because we're all confused," Roos said on Fox Footy.
Port veteran Kane Cornes had no doubt Monfries should have been penalised.
"Clearly that one is holding the ball,” Cornes said on On the Couch.
"I was taught as a kid if you get tackled and you drop the ball (it's) holding the ball.
"I think we need to get back to rewarding the tackle because it's such a great skill – an underrated skill – in our sport.
"It will clear up the congestion as well if we pay more frees.
"The play will flow quicker we mightn't have the rolling stuff that we're getting at the moment."
WATCH: Bomber Baguley's last-quarter tackle on Monfries goes unrewarded