The AFL tribunal must go back to basics

Sam Patrick Roar Rookie

By Sam Patrick, Sam Patrick is a Roar Rookie

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    The time has come for the AFL to implement a basic yet effective judiciary system for the sanctioning of player behaviour on the field.

    It has become obvious over the past few years that the more we complicate the system with demerit points, the type of contact (negligent or reckless) and other associated garbage, the harder we make it for those who are in charge of making the decisions.

    It was mentioned on Fox Sports’ “AFL 360” (easily the best AFL related show around) by my favourite journalist Mark Robinson that commonsense must prevail from here on in.

    It is time for we as humans and those that are running this system to stop complicating things and to just use our brains every once in a while.

    I agree with the AFL’s focus on the head being sacred and any contact to it being dangerous. This has been medically proven and we all know how important it is to protect the head.

    But in sport and in many aspects of life, we cannot control everything.

    Yes, it is right to punish somebody for accidentally killing another human (manslaughter), but I don’t think footballers should be punished for committing a good, strong tackle that accidentally leads to a head injury. This is where a line must be drawn between intention and incidence.

    You all know what I’m talking about when I mention ‘the tackle’.

    Yes, Jack Trengove’s appeal against his three-match band has failed. The fact of the matter is, he should never have even received a single week for his tackle on Adelaide’s Patrick Dangerfield. The officiating umpire did not deem the tackle to be illegal and play was allowed to continue.

    Dangerfield hit his head on the ground as a result of having no arm to support his rough landing. Had he got up and kept playing, would Trengove have been even sighted for his tackle?

    Dangerfield’s concussion, which led to him being substituted off the field, was the direct result of an accident.

    I don’t believe for one second that Trengove knew where the ball was and I’m glad that he has vowed to ‘still tackle hard’ because that is what makes our game so great.

    On the other end of the spectrum, you have a case of where Tiger Daniel Jackson deliberately raised an elbow and struck the face of his North Melbourne opponent. He received a two week ban which was reduced to one. If Trengove was handed three weeks, then Jackson should have been suspended for six weeks at least.

    If the AFL are so serious about cracking down on contact to the head and protecting players, then they need to be a lot harsher on intentional high contact whether it be Jackson or Campbell Brown a few weeks ago. Jackson’s hit wasn’t of high impact, but if it had of been, the player could of had a broken jaw or been knocked out completely.

    But because he wasn’t, Jackson got off lightly. Personally, I find that to be complete rubbish.

    Why rub out a player who did what he was told to do by his coaching staff?

    The Dangerfield head injury was a result of the tackle, not Trengove intending to make high contact. Not that it should affect the tribunal’s decision, but it is worth noting Trengove played in a side that had been labeled as soft during the week by a harsh media.

    It’s time to be almost over harsh on intentional illegal actions, especially head high and to monitor the accidents with a bit of common sense. We have edited and constructed modern football enough, let’s not further damage it by outlawing aggression and good, hard tackles which are a unique facet of our game.

    For God’s sake, let’s scrap this terrible system and bring back some commonsense into the game we love so dearly.

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    The Crowd Says (4)

    • May 14th 2011 @ 11:54am
      GrantS said | May 14th 2011 @ 11:54am | ! Report

      Mate, could not agree with you more!

    • May 14th 2011 @ 3:17pm
      The recalcitrant said | May 14th 2011 @ 3:17pm | ! Report

      The tribunal are nothing short of criminals.

      I do not follow Melbourne or Adelaide, but what I saw over the Trengove incident has rubbished our football and given plenty of ammo to the rugby codes to mock how weak our sport has become.

      It was a shameful, low act.

      Do not really care what their justification was. I just want them removed.

      Melbourne should do an India/Sri Lanka/Pakistan and stage a walk off midway through their next league match in protest and solidarity and refuse to come back out until there is resignations.

      It is the only way AFL can be taught as currently it is drunken with it’s own power.

    • May 14th 2011 @ 10:12pm
      Jack said | May 14th 2011 @ 10:12pm | ! Report

      The AFL tribunal is the direct result of egos out of control, or put more simply overpaid and self important executives who feel the need to be in total control. Why do they not understand that you cannot cover all bases in this great game of ours? Do you see judges in a court adding up the demerit points to arrive at a penalty? How laughable that would be. Yes the AFL employs its tribunal members on the basis of their experience yet they are burdened with a system that does not allow them to think the process through. Why have them there at all if the system is so prescriptive? And Demetriou has the gall to say, “He could have accepted a two week penalty” There is NO-ONE agreeing with you!!!!
      ps We have all seen so called sling tackles this weekend, what will the MRP do on Monday?

      • May 16th 2011 @ 2:24am
        amazonfan said | May 16th 2011 @ 2:24am | ! Report

        “And Demetriou has the gall to say, “He could have accepted a two week penalty” There is NO-ONE agreeing with you!!!!”

        I hate that, I really do. If Trengove should never have been suspended, why should he accept a lesser penalty?!!!

        The problem, as you say, is that the system is too prescriptive. They tried to make the system more simplified but in doing so, eliminated discretion. There will never be a perfect system, as there will always be disagreement, and there will always be mistakes, but at least with the allowance of discretion, mistakes like this can be eliminated.

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