Gieschen said umpires hone in on players who deliberately 'rush a behind' when they kick it 15 to 20 metres backwards through the scoring area; those who handball over their head; or walk the ball over the line; each of these tactics tries to force a kick-in. Gieschen said that because Slattery was under pressure from Hawks player Lance Franklin and was close to the goals, he was within his rights to take the ball across the goal line.
"He (Slattery) was tackled, albeit slightly, and it was a brush, which knocked him off balance, and he turned and was heading towards the defensive scoring area." As a result of the incorrect decision, Hawthorn forward Lance Franklin was awarded a free kick right in front of goal. Essendon solidly defeated Hawthorn 15.16 (106) to 9.9 (63).
The admission highlights the pressure umpires are under as they conduct their game in a fish-bowl of scrutiny. Players, coaches and fans are often quick to judge umpires for their decisions, but it is unusual for the AFL Umpires Association to bring down judgement in such a public way. During the game, Umpire McLaren allegedly made several poor decisions, and as a result, will not umpire in this week's round seven.
Gieschen said McLaren's failure to award a free kick to Andrew Welsh had also contributed to the decision to drop him. ''He's our most senior umpire in terms of games, but like the players, like the coaches, like myself, like everybody in the game, we're all accountable for our performance. Unfortunately Scott was below his best on the weekend.''
McLaren has officiated in five grand finals and is one of the most respected umpires in the AFL. His benching this week is a hiccup in his prized umpiring career and shows that even the judges are judged for their performance.
The whole incident is a reminder that to err is human. We all make wrong decisions and are judged for them. The Bible (Acts 17:30) also reminds us that judgement is a fundamental aspect of life.
However, unlike AFL umpires, God is a Just Judge who does not make mistakes. He is the ultimate tribunal. God has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. God has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.
Jesus is this Just Judge. He is not only judge, but He has also amazingly paid the penalty for the transgressions of those who seek Him. What a gracious Just Judge!