AFL must throw out the towel

Kit Harvey Roar Guru

By Kit Harvey, Kit Harvey is a Roar Guru

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16 Have your say

    In greasy conditions or otherwise, players should not be allowed to use any item to alter the state of the ball.

    It is the equivalent of ball tampering in cricket and should be dealt with harshly.

    While lining up for his 500th career goal against the Demons on Saturday night, St. Kilda’s Stephen Milne used a towel supplied by a nearby club trainer to dry the ball. The umpire only asked the trainer to vacate the vicinity after the deed had been done.

    Considered a part of the game open to umpire interpretation, this moment highlights the need for a law to either be written or clarified.

    The game will suffer if such behaviour is not addressed immediately and we risk setting a dangerous precedent if it is allowed to continue. At no level of football should ball tampering become an accepted practice.

    I am not suggesting Milne and St. Kilda be deducted a goal over the incident, nor am I calling the diminutive number 44 a cheat. On the contrary, Milne should be congratulated for becoming only the 50th man in VFL/AFL history to kick 500 goals. What I am suggesting is that this instance be looked at very closely by the game’s lawmakers and for a legitimate conclusion be drawn.

    If law or interpretation deems tampering with the ball in such a way acceptable I would be surprised and saddened.

    Football is a game sometimes played in wet weather. Keep it that way.

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    The Crowd Says (16)

    • April 29th 2012 @ 7:41am
      Kris said | April 29th 2012 @ 7:41am | ! Report

      I agree, either everyone has access to a towel or no-one. For me, no-one is the better option, rather than holding up play every time there is a set shot in the wet. If a guy wants to use his jumper or shorts, I’m fine with that.

    • April 29th 2012 @ 8:12am
      Cameron said | April 29th 2012 @ 8:12am | ! Report

      “It is the equivalent of ball tampering in cricket and should be dealt with harshly.”
      In cricket whenever there is a hint of rain they go off the field so this is not a good analogy.

      Kris, what would be the point of using your jumper or shorts to dry the ball when you are already wet anyway?

      • April 29th 2012 @ 9:18am
        Timmuh said | April 29th 2012 @ 9:18am | ! Report

        I didn’t see the incident in question, but tend to agree that the practice should be wiped out. One further question for those who did see it, was Milne given more than the customary 30 seconds so he could clean the ball?

        • Roar Guru

          April 29th 2012 @ 9:40am
          Kit Harvey said | April 29th 2012 @ 9:40am | ! Report

          Timmuh, Milne was given the 30 seconds but the umpire did have to ask the trainer to get out of the area verbally – a sign Milne should hurry up. It was a bizarre moment.

      • Roar Guru

        April 29th 2012 @ 9:41am
        Kit Harvey said | April 29th 2012 @ 9:41am | ! Report

        Cameron, the reason why I used this analogy is because ball tampering in cricket is so frowned upon – picking at a seam or using a mouth lozenge to shine the ball for instance. Using a towel in the AFL should be in this league of misdemeanours in my opinion.

        • Roar Rookie

          April 29th 2012 @ 9:48am
          stam said | April 29th 2012 @ 9:48am | ! Report

          Don’t they use a hand towel to dry the ball in cricket?

          • Roar Guru

            April 29th 2012 @ 1:05pm
            Kit Harvey said | April 29th 2012 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

            I think its different in cricket. Players may dry the ball because it is also a safety issue.

    • April 29th 2012 @ 11:51am
      Australian Rules said | April 29th 2012 @ 11:51am | ! Report

      I’m not sure Kit understands what ball tampering is.

      Fast bowlers often have a small towel to clean/shine the ball…if they don’t, they rub the ball on their trousers to get shine – perfectly legal. This is what Milne did.

      If he was scratching the surface of the ball, biting it (a la Afridi), or in any way altering the ball’s proper surface or shape…then this article might raise valid points.

      • Roar Guru

        April 29th 2012 @ 1:09pm
        Kit Harvey said | April 29th 2012 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

        Don’t worry I play cricket. I’m a medium pace bowler. Trust me, I get it. Milne did not rub the ball on an article of clothing – that would have been fine. The context was completely different when Milne used an external item to enable an easier shot at goal.

        • April 30th 2012 @ 8:06am
          Australian Rules said | April 30th 2012 @ 8:06am | ! Report

          Nothing Milne did contravened the AFL Laws of the Game, particularly Law 4 – The Football.

          If someone wants to wipe the stuff off the ball before their set shot (and a towel is on hand nearby), then good luck to em.

          I’m really not sure what this article is about.

    • April 29th 2012 @ 12:00pm
      GrantS said | April 29th 2012 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

      I agree with you Kit and it is a shame that it happened on the 500th goal of Milne.

      Once again this shows that some of our umpires are not up to standard. The umpire in question should have immediately stopped the trainer when he handed the towel to Milne. Maybe he got caught up in the excitement of the moment.

    • April 29th 2012 @ 12:21pm
      BigAl said | April 29th 2012 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

      Some NFL players seem to have a small towel tocked into their belt – not sure what they use it for ?

      • Roar Guru

        April 29th 2012 @ 1:09pm
        Kit Harvey said | April 29th 2012 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

        It is an accepted practice in the NFL – great sport by the way BigAl!. I’m a Seahawks fan, who do you support?

    • April 29th 2012 @ 8:09pm
      Football United said | April 29th 2012 @ 8:09pm | ! Report

      don’t see the big deal as long as they don’t take all day, if they don’t have a towel they would use their clothes. i see rugby players do this all the time before a lineout so the ball is easier to throw.

      • Roar Guru

        April 29th 2012 @ 8:49pm
        Kit Harvey said | April 29th 2012 @ 8:49pm | ! Report

        I have no problem with players using their clothing. Outside items are the issue.

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