VAR once again the talking point as Western United steal three points

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VAR has reared its ugly head yet again, as Western United snuck home a 1-0 win against Perth Glory on Friday night.

For the third consecutive game involving Western United, there has been controversy surrounding the use of the technology.

Three games ago, Angus Thurgate and Newcastle Jets were denied what appeared to be a clear goal after an error from Jamie Young. VAR wasn’t used on that occasion as it was an FFA Cup match, and thus cost Newcastle from progressing in the tournament.

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It saw Aloisi thanking the football gods for the result.

Last week, United were denied a last-minute penalty after Jason Davidson appeared to stick out his right leg which saw Alessandro Diamanti fall to the ground. Despite the obvious contact and his howls to the referee, the decision was upheld as United lost 1-0 to their rivals, Melbourne Victory.

This week, Dylan Wenzel-Halls’ goal appeared to have crossed the by-line prior to Connor Pain hitting the post. Still images clearly showed the ball out of the field of play, but the lack of a camera on the other side of the pitch hindered the possibility to decisively overrule.

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These are just the decisions that have impacted Western United. If you add in Brisbane’s contentiously ruled-out equaliser last Friday against Melbourne City, it shows a pattern of failure.

The point of VAR is to eradicate refereeing errors from the game. If the start of the season is anything to go by, then it is clearly failing in its job.

Australian Professional Leagues commissioner Greg O’Rourke said back in April that, “The reason people turn to technology is because they want to be better informed and they want to make better decisions – and we’re no different in sport.”

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It therefore begs the questioN – why are we using technology if we can’t be sure that it helps us to make better decisions? After all, this is the core purpose of VAR.

If it isn’t achieving this purpose, then what’s the point in using it?

“I’ve seen the still image [of the cross from Pain] and I’ve seen that the ball is out,” Perth head coach Richard Garcia said.

All four players from Perth stopped and looked to the linesman, allowing Wenzell-Halls the easiest of finishes.

“We can’t even talk about this anymore, it’s an ongoing battle and we either fix the system or we don’t use it all because this is continuously happening in games over and over again,” Garcia said.

“At the moment, we don’t seem to be getting the right decisions at the right times.”

It is rhetoric that continues to emerge within the league. For Western United, the win certainly made it an easier pill to swallow.

“We might have had that little bit of luck we needed tonight,” head coach John Aloisi said post-match.

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The football gods have seemingly returned to Tarneit. For the second game in three weeks, a favourable decision has seen the home side secure a win.

“To be honest I didn’t see it. I was celebrating the goal. I didn’t even see the replay,” he said.

“Its funny because sometimes you know the ball might look out from a certain angle, so it’s hard to say.”

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This is exactly the issue. The number of active cameras at games has declined over the past few seasons. Fox Sports heavily reduced the number during their last season of TV hosting rights, and it appears that Paramount haven’t yet corrected the issue.

The reason that VAR works in the biggest leagues in the world is because of the sheer number of cameras around the ground. It is impossible to miss a moment of action because at least one of cameramen will have recorded it.

“We have to trust the VAR, we didn’t have a decision go out way last week with the Diamanti penalty, these things happen,” Aloisi said.

This is exactly the situation that is currently being faced by all 12 teams in the A-League Men. It is a blind trust in a system that continues to fail those that are forced to rely on it.

It has taken away from an otherwise impressive performance from a weakened Perth Glory side. Missing key starters Andy Keogh, Daniel Sturridge and captain Brandon O’Neill, the travelling side were unfortunate not to come away with a point.

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“It was a massive step in the right direction,” Garcia said.

“There were some very good individual performances, but as a team as well, it was a great performance, especially with some of the young guys coming in and having to fill some roles that they’re not used to.

“I thought they were exceptional tonight… we just probably needed to be a bit more patient when we got into their half.”

The A-Leagues is becoming a great platform for young Aussie talent to emerge. This should have been the talking point.

Instead coaches, players and fans are left to rue the inconsistencies of VAR. It’s all very ironic, seeing as its purpose is to limit inconsistencies within refereeing.

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Dillon Izon
Marketing graduate at Monash University. Sports addicted, fan of Manchester United and Melbourne City. My gran “knows” Gareth Bale.

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