Nothing has received more attention in the 2018 Hyundai A-League season than the use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).

Despite lasting 20 rounds it’s still a huge talking point of discussion for players, coaches and fans. We’re still trying to decide whether VAR actually belongs in the game and remains a work in progress to this day.

Ernie Merrick is the latest coach unhappy with a goal disallowed and an unlucky penalty decision against Nikolai Topor-Stanley in the 2-2 draw against Western Sydney Wanderers. The Football Sack looks at some more controversy from across the season.

Massimo Maccarone offside: The Italian was denied a spectacular goal in round three against Newcastle Jets. He thought he got Brisbane back in the game with the equaliser but the goal wouldn’t stand.

When the attacking move was analysed by the VAR, the first part of the build-up came off Matt McKay whose block went forward to Maccarone who was offside given the ball came off his teammate.

In real-time it wasn’t spotted and play continued as Maccarone got a one-two pass before he finished nicely with a low shot. The Roar found out that the goal had been disallowed due to the earlier offside which left John Aloisi furious.

Embed from Getty Images

When the decision takes too long: Oriol Riera had to wait a few minutes before he could take a spot-kick back in round five against Melbourne Victory. Rhys Williams brought down Jumpei Kusukami in the box and Riera could be seen waiting from the spot while the VAR reviewed the contact.

It was a very bemusing time for those watching as the VAR took longer than expected to deliver an outcome. To add to the confusion, Williams who had originally received a yellow card got shown it again but was simply a repeat of the card and not a sending off.

It could be easy for Riera to be put off by the delay and the end result was a penalty save by Lawrence Thomas.

It was a similar situation for Bobo the previous week as he awaited confirmation of a penalty. He too had to wait a lengthy time of four minutes after an initial Joseph Mills handball in the box. Unlike Riera, Bobo made no mistake with his conversion.

Embed from Getty Images

Matt Simon and Avram Papadopoulos spat: These two were involved in a heated exchange with the latter given a seven-week suspension for a spitting incident in round eight.

The pair had a one-on-one aerial duel with Papadopoulos to concede the foul, but it was what happened next that the VAR deemed both players were required to take their marching orders. The Greek defender was pushed to the ground by Simon who was visibly incensed with the treatment after he felt he was spat on.

When VAR had a closer inspection, the replay showed Papadopoulos clearly doing that action and saw red while Simon had to leave the field as well for his reaction, a harsh one perhaps because no one would want to be spat at. What appeared to be friendly conversation quickly turned nasty as the Roar lost a valuable member of their defence.

Embed from Getty Images

Wout Brama and Jake McGing upgrades: VAR was most notably in the headlines for its dismissal of two Mariners players in round 10. Both players were first shown a yellow card before VAR came into play and changed the colour to red.

Brama’s boot down the calf of Roly Bonevacia was seen worthy of a sending off, much to the displeasure of Paul Okon who could be heard screaming “who’s up there?!”

It got worse for Central Coast when later Jake McGing had the same fate and reduced the Mariners to nine men. The studs were up and the slightly late challenge on Kearyn Baccus didn’t result in much contact however VAR had other ideas. Okon was again furious with the overrule and the fact that he was two players down for over 10 minutes remaining in the match.

SHARE
Liam Watson is covering Melbourne Victory this season while completing Media and Communications at La Trobe University.