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A reading of this play is that the whistle was blown for the free hit after the defender bumped the ball carrier and ran across his path. It wasn’t heeded by the ARG attacker who preferred the advantage and pretended that’s what he was getting (taking into account the reaction of the opposing team).
This is a missed management opportunity for a card at this point in the game (two green cards had already been given the other way for breakdown fouls). There’s no attempt by the defender to make a play on the ball (given his stick is up above his waist the whole time) and he very knowingly runs into the attacker’s running line. The attacker has another defender to deal with in front of him and there is no onus on him to not change direction as some kind of courtesy to the defender chasing from behind and out of the ball carrier’s view. Instead, it’s that player’s responsibility to not get in the attacker’s way.
This situation exposes how vulnerable the middle channel is on the pitch as it’s in that grey area of shared responsibility between the umpires. At times we can fall victim to thinking it’s our colleague who will be managing it. We should cover off this detail in our pre-match chat. The controlling umpire will normally be the one to whom the play is flowing towards in these situations and takes primary responsibility unless the trailing umpire is in a better position to see the actual foul.
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