MRP and AFL caught in a Cotch 22

Martin Rocks Roar Guru

By Martin Rocks, Martin Rocks is a Roar Guru

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75 Have your say

    Trent Cotchin was going hard for the footy, but the general pattern of adjudication from the 2017 Match Review Panel suggests this is a minor traffic infringement.

    Unfortunately Cotchin has run out of demerit points with his previous two penalties from earlier this season, and the first couple of days in GF week is going to be a fascinating tight-rope.

    If the AFL is serious about ‘protecting the head’ and ‘duty of care’ – unfortunately in my opinion the panel should come to the conclusion that this is a fine and Cotchin will miss.

    Again, I think Cotchin’s intentions were true, my opinion is formed purely on how these types of collisions have been assessed by the MRP this year.

    Cotchin makes a bracing action with his leading shoulder – to me that is the biggest worry in this.

    This incident led me back to the Round 13 match between the Swans and the Tigers, where Buddy Franklin led in with a shoulder on Connor Menendue.

    The MRP verdict is below:

    “Lance Franklin, Sydney Swans, has been charged with engaging in rough conduct against Connor Menadue, Richmond, during the second quarter of the Round 13 match between the Sydney Swans and Richmond, played at the MCG on Saturday June 17, 2017. In summary, he can accept a $1000 sanction with an early plea.

    “Based on the available video evidence and a medical report from the Richmond Football Club, the incident was assessed as careless conduct with low impact to the head. The incident was classified as a $1500 sanction. The player has no applicable record which impacts the penalty. An early plea enables the player to accept a $1000 sanction.” 

    Given this, and noting the fact that Shiel was concussed, the MRP have got a fascinating debate on their hands.

    On the flipside, if the MRP clears Cotchin, it just means they shouldn’t sit following the preliminary final matches. It is pointless.

    Trent Cotchin Richmond Tigers AFL 2017

    Trent Cotchin (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    We have had too many glossed over for it to have any relevance come grand final week.

    As a Swans fan, I recall Andrew Dunkley and Barry Hall got away with some interesting interpretations to play in the last Saturdays in September in 1996 and 2005 respectively.

    The old cliche of ‘a bloke can’t miss a grannie for that’ will resonate strongly, as it already has.

    With this weight of precedent how can the MRP possibly win?

    Hand down the fine, and many pundits will say it is the end of contested footy.

    Let Cotchin play, and the whole mantra of protecting the player’s head under the 2017 interpretation will be thrown out the door.

    Unfortunately the incident takes away from what we should be talking about – Cotchin should never have been walking the tightrope in the first place.

    Cotchin’s two prior charges for 2017 are both punches – one a jumper punch to Fremantle midfielder Lachie Neale’s chin and the other a gut punch to St Kilda’s Jack Lonie.

    The sad thing is, I can guarantee if Cotchin did not have these two strikes, he would be fined tomorrow night so they could celebrate Dusty’s Brownlow.

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    The Crowd Says (75)

    • September 25th 2017 @ 4:42am
      Zach Kitchen said | September 25th 2017 @ 4:42am | ! Report

      If Cotchin had been suspended for that lookaway punch like he should have been, would he be playing this grand final with a fine?

    • Roar Rookie

      September 25th 2017 @ 4:42am
      BillyW said | September 25th 2017 @ 4:42am | ! Report

      I’m with you Martin…..should have missed games for his non footy crimes and this would be a fine….maybe….looking at the MRP dance card you’d have to say…..
      Careless > Impact= high (concussed) > contact= high ….which is 3 down to 2!….the only way to drop it to a fine is down grading Impact to low…… which is hard to argue given Shiels missed 3 quarters with concussion……

      Unfortunate but he has to miss…….

      • Roar Rookie

        September 25th 2017 @ 7:02pm
        BillyW said | September 25th 2017 @ 7:02pm | ! Report

        I stand corrected but not disappointed……bring on the GF

    • September 25th 2017 @ 6:53am
      Neil from Warrandyte said | September 25th 2017 @ 6:53am | ! Report

      How could the MRP prove Shiel was concussed with the Cotchin incident when he played out the entire 1st quarter copping a late hit in another incident with Astbury. When it happened live there was no thought that Cotchin would be in trouble and was only after Shiel was concussed that it came under scrutiny. Both the Sloane/ Dangerfield and Cotchin/Shiel incidents very similar intentions. Can’t crucify Cotchin if can’t prove the concussion outcome resulted from that particular incident.

      • September 25th 2017 @ 9:42am
        Craig Delaney said | September 25th 2017 @ 9:42am | ! Report

        Concussion or no, he still hit him in the head. Shiel was clearly dazed at the very least. Concussion is immaterial to the charge of careless high impact to the head.

        • September 25th 2017 @ 9:56am
          Slane said | September 25th 2017 @ 9:56am | ! Report

          Whether Shiel was concussed or not has a direct bearing on whether the impact can be graded as low/medium/high.

          • September 25th 2017 @ 10:35am
            Craig Delaney said | September 25th 2017 @ 10:35am | ! Report

            Agreed. But people are talking as if no concussion means no prob.

    • September 25th 2017 @ 7:11am
      mwm said | September 25th 2017 @ 7:11am | ! Report

      People ( well Richmond fans) are forgetting one point. The concussion, and who caused it is almost irrelevant.

      The simple fact is the action of Trent Cotchin caused his body to connect with Dylan Shiels head while Trent made no attempt to grab the ball. That is rough conduct not matter what.

      Based on his previous two fines, the fine for this act alone would send him out . If they proved his hit did cause the concussion then they would add another week carries over to next season. If he gets off it’s a scandal.

      • September 25th 2017 @ 9:57am
        Slane said | September 25th 2017 @ 9:57am | ! Report

        Trent won the ball. He made a desperate attempt to win the ball and he won it. To say he made no attempt at the ball is absurd.

        • September 25th 2017 @ 11:05am
          mickyo said | September 25th 2017 @ 11:05am | ! Report

          He bumped someone in the head and then got the ball, make that legal and you have maimings all over the place.

          He was reckless and it was potentially dangerous.

          Desperate act in a final or not, i dont want to see it, as a father of boys and a girl playing and an explayer myself i t is not on.

          He had better options.

          If the AFL let him off they are setting a precedent going against what they are working towards.

          • September 25th 2017 @ 11:22am
            Matt said | September 25th 2017 @ 11:22am | ! Report

            To me this is key. To my eye he wasn’t contesting the ball when he hit – he shunted Shiels high IN ORDER TO get to the ball and was careless about it. Is that still considered contesting?
            Does he deserve another chance to do the same to, say Sloane or Matt Crouch early in the game on Saturday?
            I think he’s already run the gauntlet too many times to show that he’s learning anything

    • September 25th 2017 @ 7:36am
      Axle and the Guru said | September 25th 2017 @ 7:36am | ! Report

      This week the AFL has its showpiece, its climax, the best game of the year, do we really want to take away from this game two of its best players for discrepancies that have always been a part of this game? Or do we want the best possible sides on the field to contribute to making this game the best and most memorable game possible? These blokes have not king hit anybody remember, if the MRP look at these players it will strait away take away from this game, just like the stupid Dangerfield decision has taken away the excitement of the Brownlow, turning it into a one horse race, I say forget it, move on and let’s get into the Grand Final, the best possible sides will give the best possible game.

      • Roar Guru

        September 25th 2017 @ 8:50am
        Martin Rocks said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:50am | ! Report

        Axle – while I agree it would be harsh decision – what about Cotchin’s two punches earlier this year? I dont think we would be having this discussion now.

        • September 25th 2017 @ 9:02am
          Axle and the Guru said | September 25th 2017 @ 9:02am | ! Report

          It was a contest for the ball Martin, and it comes naturally to brace your body for impact, should Cotchin have pulled out of the contest for the ball? Do we want players doing that, no we don’t, commonsense needs to come into this, and you know as well as I do, if he goes it will end up in front of a judge, do we really want all this before a Grand Final. We need to enjoy this week for what it is, and this rubbish is already detracting from it.

          • September 25th 2017 @ 10:36am
            Zed16 said | September 25th 2017 @ 10:36am | ! Report

            Axle the reality is that Cotchins shoulder came into contact with Shiels head when they contested the ball and this today is classed as careless.

            GF or no GF the rules and adjudications need to be consistent every week so the message is clear to all players and clubs.

            Cotchin has benefited twice this year with rulings that have not been consistent and if it is deemed he should be suspended then so be it.

            You need to remember that through his actions Shiel’s missed 3/4 of the game so how was that a benefit to GWS?

      • September 25th 2017 @ 9:36am
        Benh2477 said | September 25th 2017 @ 9:36am | ! Report

        Cotchins actions, careless or intentional took away one of GWS’ best players for 3/4 of the match. Had Shiel not been concussed, who is to say if there may have been a different outcome with that particular game last weekend…

    • September 25th 2017 @ 8:08am
      Bill Larkin said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:08am | ! Report

      Giving a player concussion is not a traffic infringement.

      • Roar Guru

        September 25th 2017 @ 8:52am
        Martin Rocks said | September 25th 2017 @ 8:52am | ! Report

        I dont think he went out to give him a concussion. Any my comment is on how MRP have adjudicated hits to the head this year in these similar circumstances.

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