AFL tribunal right on Judd, slightly wrong on Ziebell
Leigh Adams recovers after Chris Judd's "chicken wing" tackle. (Slattery Images)
The AFL tribunal had a busy evening last night, with two names in particular causing plenty of debate: Chris Judd and Jack Ziebell.
Judd was given four weeks for his infamous “chicken wing” tackle on North Melbourne’s Leigh Adams. In the end, the Carlton star copped a fair punishment.
He claimed that he did not intentionally twist Adams’ arm and that he was trying to prevent a handball. But it was hard for anyone watching the vision not to view his act as unnecessary.
He didn’t need to do it.
He certainly didn’t need to pull the arm back as far as he did.
He most definitely didn’t need to hold it back for as long as he did.
It was a dirty act that sent his opponent to the sidelines and only able to return after painkillers. For all that, a month on the sidelines seems about right.
The real outrage to come out of last night surrounded North’s Jack Ziebell, following an incident in the same game.
Ziebell collided with Carlton’s Aaron Joseph in a high bump. It was initially deemed worthy of a three-week ban by the match review panel, but last night the Roos decided to appeal.
The unsuccessful tribunal hearing meant the penalty went up to four weeks.
What has infuriated so many about this decision is that Ziebell was going for the footy. The incident in question came as Ziebell went to receive a handball. Joseph got a hand to it, but was soon crunched by Ziebell.
Cries of “he was just going for the footy” have been rife over the past few days. And it’s true that’s what he was doing, at least to an extent.
Unfortunately, it can’t be denied that Ziebell did make contact with the head of Joseph, a red flag these days given the consequences of concussion.
It also can’t be denied that he turned his body at the last second, which included dropping his right elbow, a terrible decision with the hindsight of a slow-motion replay.
Yes, he was going for the “mark”. But the combination of high contact and a loose elbow meant that some kind of penalty had to be handed down.
That said, it’s hard not to agree with the angry mob of footy fans saying a four-week penalty is too harsh.
Ziebell did suffer because of an existing bad record, but he doesn’t deserve to miss a month of footy that will be critical for North’s finals chances.
Certainly, that the golden boy Judd received the same penalty for a worse act on the exact same night will no doubt provide plenty of ammunition for match review panel and tribunal detractors.
All in all, while the game’s penalty-deciders did manage to get something right, once again they gave fans reason to be bemused.
It’s almost like a weekly ritual.
Michael DiFabrizio is completing his journalism degree. As an AFL writer, he has been an expert columnist at The Roar since 2009, and appeared in The Age and on ABC television and radio. Follow Michael on twitter @mdifabrizio