Moment #88: Sirengate at Launceston
AS THE timekeepers’ clock ran down to zero at in the St Kilda-Fremantle clash at Launceston’s Aurora Park in round five, 2006, field umpire Matthew Nicholls blew his whistle for a ball up. Welcome to Sirengate.
The siren had sounded, but the field umpires had not heard it.
Fremantle was leading by a point, but as Dockers players began to celebrate the ball was bounced. It spilled to St Kilda’s Steven Baker, whose shot on goal went through for a behind, drawing the match. The siren had sounded again as he kicked, this time heard by umpire Hayden Kennedy, who called an end to the game.
Amid scenes of extraordinary confusion, Baker was gifted another kick because he had been interfered with by Fremantle’s Daniel Gilmore. Baker missed this shot, too, and the game was declared a draw. Fremantle’s coach Chris Connolly and CEO Cameron Schwab stormed onto the field as Freo players protested with the umpires, who held their ground.
The result was finally decided days later when the AFL Commission declared the match in Fremantle’s favour, saying that the game finished on the initial blowing of the siren. Aurora Park’s siren system was upgraded, and the offending hooter is destined for a Tasmanian museum.