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Luke Beveridge says umpire made right call in controversial sliding free kick

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WESTERN Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has dismissed any notion there is confusion around the sliding rule after several incidents in Friday night’s loss to the Adelaide Crows.

In pouring rain for most of the match, several free kicks were paid, both ways, with the most talked about decision gifting the Bulldogs their only goal of the first half.

Adelaide defender Daniel Talia slid to pick up the ball and made contact below the knee of Bulldog Lukas Webb. In the third quarter a similar situation resulted in a free against the Dogs.

But Beveridge said there was no confusion in his eyes, in either circumstance, and the players were well drilled on what they could and couldn’t do.

“We did have a chat about that, you just can’t go to ground like that,” Beveridge said.

“There were others were paid against us that were there. You just can’t dive in, our players know it. You can’t be doing a desperate act just to stop the footy. The rule is there and players need to be better at adapting to it.

“I think by and large (the umpires) got it right.”

Beveridge’s opinion wasn’t mirrored around the football community, with former Collingwood champion Mick McGuane declaring the sliding rule was becoming a “major indictment” on the game.

“Please get back to rewarding the player that gets first to the ball and not the “sweater”,” McGuane posted on Twitter.

Crows coach Don Pyke said there was some grey area in the rule, but the conditions of Friday’s game were not going to make things any clearer.

“It’s always difficult especially in those conditions when it’s a bit more prevalent,” he said.

“The difficult one is when you slide and how far you slide and how close you are to the ball.”

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