The Whistle: Round 6 refereeing and VAR incidents explained

Each week a-league.com.au will be speaking with FFA Director of Referees Ben Wilson to review some of the contentious VAR incidents from the weekend’s matches.

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Ben, let’s start in Adelaide with the sending off of Taylor Regan. 

As a result of the melee, the referee communicated to the VAR that he was going to caution Stefan Mauk and Jordan Elsey. The VAR informed the referee that it was actually Taylor Regan who put his hand on the face of Mauk. Following discussion with the VAR, the referee decided to give Regan a second yellow card for unsporting behaviour and sent him from the field. Stefan Mauk was also cautioned.

In the Referees Department’s weekly post-round review (involving FFA’s senior referee coaches and myself), it was determined that the correct outcome should have been for the VAR to recommend an on-field review and Regan should have been shown a direct red card for his conduct.


What are your thoughts on the challenge from Jack Clisby on Rhyan Grant in Gosford.

This incident was reviewed by the VAR and it was confirmed that there was clear contact by Jack Clisby on Rhyan Grant and the contact occurred inside the penalty area.

The correct outcome was achieved.


And finally, the VAR involvement in the send-off of Ryan Lowry in Wellington.

On the advice of the assistant referee, the referee gave a direct free kick for a tackle by Ryan Lowry. The VAR believed that the on-field match officials had missed a serious incident due to the lack of any sanction for Lowry. The VAR formed the view that the contact by Lowry with his studs to Chris Ikonomidis’ leg met the considerations for serious foul play and he advised the referee accordingly.

The referees prioritise protecting player safety and this caused the VAR to recommend the referee review the tackle to make his own assessment. Having seen a replay of the tackle, the referee decided that the tackle constituted serious foul play and sent Lowry from the field of play.

In the Referees Department’s weekly post-round review, it was determined that the correct outcome should have been a yellow card for a reckless tackle.  You will have seen that earlier this afternoon the Match Review Panel (MRP) did not overturn the red card issued to Lowry. The reason for this is that the MRP can only overturn a red card if all 3 MRP members determine that in the circumstances no card was warranted.