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Umpire dissent by St Kilda players Callum Wilkie and Jack Steele, rule, 50m penalty

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Two of St Kilda’s senior leaders on Sunday gave away two costly 50m penalties for umpire dissent, which resulted in two Fremantle goals in two minutes.

Midway through the second quarter of Sunday’s Saints-Dockers clash, Saints vice-captain Callum Wilkie gave away a free kick in the forward pocket for an illegal hold on Fremantle forward Matt Taberner in a marking contest.

As a replay of the incident was shown on the big screen, Wilkie gestured several times to the umpire and argued his case, leading to a 50m penalty for dissent that brought Taberner to within point-blank range.

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“You can’t look at the screen then have a go at me, OK? That’s considered umpire dissent,” the umpire was heard saying over the microphone on the Fox Footy broadcast.

Taberner, inevitably, kicked the goal.

“You still can’t let it get inside your head and give away a 50m. That’s just silly play,” Brownlow Medallist Gerard Healy told Fox Footy.

“You can see why he’s filthy because he had his jumper grabbed, but you don’t win by giving away 50m.”

Less than a minute later, Dockers player James Aish was paid a dubious mark inside 50.

Saints captain Jack Steele, who was standing on the mark, pointed to the screen to argue Aish hadn’t held the ball long enough for a mark to be paid. But Steele’s action led to another 50m penalty for umpire dissent.

“Another one. You’d want to be really careful here St Kilda,” four-time premiership Hawk Jordan Lewis told Fox Footy.

“You can’t reference the screen or question the umpire and the decision they’ve made. They’re clearly hot on that topic … it’s an interesting one.

“I think you can look at the screen then ask the question, if that’s what they’re referring to. You’re allowed to have a genuine conversation with the umpire, as long as it’s in a respectful way.”

Jack Steele of the Saints. Picture: Michael WillsonSource: Getty Images

Aish added another goal to the Dockers’ tally amid boos from Saints fans.

“There’s no doubt you can now have a conversation in the right manner,” triple All-Australian Nick Dal Santo told Fox Footy.

“Now where that line is, we’re still probably learning. But what we just learned from this quarter is you can’t watch the replay on the big screens then turnaround and debate it with the umpire … I think there’s probably a valid point there.

“You have to show respect in the right way and they did it twice in a row, which is unacceptable.”

Fans and commentators watching the game had a mixed reaction to the calls.

It comes after weeks of controversy last year around umpire dissent, which was brought into sharp focus to help improve the treatment of the whistleblowers given the decline in numbers at local and junior levels.

Multiple players were pinged in highly-debated incidents last year. But it was made clear to Tom Mitchell and Jack Gunston during a Hawthorn-Geelong game that they couldn’t look at the replay on the big screen and raise their arms while debating the call with the umpire.

“You both looked at the screen,” the umpire was heard saying on TV coverage. “And then you had your arms out … it’s umpire respect, OK?”

Ross Lyon, Senior Coach of the Saints. Picture: Darrian TraynorSource: Getty Images

But Dal Santo said Saints coach Ross Lyon’s frustration would surely be directed at the two leaders and their ill-disciplined acts.

“He (Lyon) would not be pleased. He plays a system and he demands certain things, but one thing you don’t want to from any team is 50s – particularly when they were at a range where they were a 50-50 chance,” Dal Santo said.

“Extremely disappointing. You could probably cop once, but definitely not two.”

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