The
word “miracle” has been used to describe the story of survival of the two
trapped miners in Beaconsfield, Tasmania. Nobody could be more relieved about this than the
families of the miners, the mine operators, rescuers, the local town, and
anyone else with a personal interest in the story.

Nobody,
that is, except for the AFL, who will today be mounting
their own rescue mission following its own Tasmanian disaster yesterday.

In
media terms, the good news from Beaconsfield was a doubly good news for the AFL: not only had the miners
survived, but their story was sure to bump the umpiring fiasco from the front
page.

That
doesn’t mean league bosses, the umpires, and St Kilda won’t be held to account.
It doesn’t mean Aurora Stadium won’t be questioned over its suitability for
hosting AFL games. And it doesn’t mean
the story is closed. No, we’ll be quite sick of it by the end of the week.

It
just means the heat has been turned down slightly while the nation’s news outlets have something more sensational – and
more worthy – for
the front page.

Shortly
after 8pm last night, the AFL website
had announced it would “launch a probe” into the situation following an
official complaint from Fremantle.

A
mere investigation isn’t going to lessen the Dockers’ rather strong belief they
were ripped off, and there are no stronger advocates of that view than
supporters, both of the Dockers and footy in general. A thread on the
bigfooty.com forums
titled “Fremantle robbed” had over 600 responses posted by this morning.

Imagine
the reaction if Baker had goaled from his controversial second free kick and
earned St Kilda a win.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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