Ban Trent Cotchin! Or the rules mean nothing

Nick Nelson Roar Rookie

By Nick Nelson, Nick Nelson is a Roar Rookie

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    I don’t care what week of the year it is. I don’t care that it will cost him a grand final. Trent Cotchin must be banned for his collision with Dylan Shiel.

    Cotchin’s decision to brace for impact with his shoulder makes it clear that his intention was to bump Dylan Shiel away from the contest rather than go directly for the ball.

    That kind of action isn’t illegal in the AFL necessarily, but you do have a duty of care when you do so to not strike your opponent in the head.

    Cotchin failed that duty of care. And while some would say that it is a minor incident and one that’s bound to happen in a contact sport, the AFL’s laws don’t see it this way.

    The head has been sacred for a while now. We know what concussions can do to the human brain and it isn’t pretty, and it isn’t acceptable for them to be brushed off as no big deal.

    Make no mistake, if this incident had occurred inside a home-and-away match it would certainly be cause for a one-week suspension, or at the very least a fine.

    And a fine would do just fine for suspending Cotchin in this case, as he has already been given two this year and a third strike triggers an automatic one-week ban.

    Is that fair? It’s a pretty rough call, but if Cotchin doesn’t want to miss games then he has to not put himself in this position to begin with, simple as that.

    The AFL has to juggle many priorities as it attempts to manage the game and looks to achieve the best outcomes across the board.

    But No.1 on that list of priorities has to be the same as it ought to be in any other business – the health and safety of its employees.

    To let Cotchin play next week would be a violation of that principle, saying that other aspects of the game are more important than whether or not Dylan Shiel is able to think straight in twenty years time.

    Do the right thing, AFL.

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    The Crowd Says (136)

    • September 24th 2017 @ 1:35pm
      Pope Paul VII said | September 24th 2017 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

      Does anyone have any footage of the mythical Astbury hit?


      1 Was Shiel paid a free kick?
      2.Did GWS get a free kick when Cotchin was caught with ball immediately after and dropped it?
      3. Or did the ump bounce it?

      I thought it was no.3 but should have been 1, then 2 and definitely not the latter but with all the carry on didn’t notice what the umps did.

      Anyhow he should be gone for at least a week for reckless high contact.

      The other bloke who got Whitfield high will definitely go, so it would be nice if he has some company on the big day.

      • September 24th 2017 @ 3:15pm
        Jean Housley said | September 24th 2017 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

        I remember Anthony Rocca missing a GF.

        • September 24th 2017 @ 6:49pm
          Pope Paul VII said | September 24th 2017 @ 6:49pm | ! Report

          That’s right.

          Jason McCartney from North missed the 99 grand final because of a stupid hit.

          I think one of the Cloke boys also missed a GF for Collingwood.

          Then again Dunkley (96) and Hall (05) escaped.

    • September 24th 2017 @ 1:51pm
      Daz said | September 24th 2017 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

      Your meant to to have a duty of care for yourself and protect at all times. Which he didn’t do. Slone made contact with his arm to the head also… so he gets rubbed out??? Come on it’s not basketball. We watch footy for its roughness

      • September 24th 2017 @ 4:48pm
        Egbirt said | September 24th 2017 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

        So if someone comes and socks you in the head from behind it’s just as much your fault as the guy that did it? Like Barry Hall that time?

    • September 24th 2017 @ 1:54pm
      Matthew Oneill said | September 24th 2017 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

      Karma for accepting a Brownlow he didn’t win

      • September 24th 2017 @ 3:49pm
        DeanM said | September 24th 2017 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

        Yes he did, Jab Watson lost the right to have the brownlow and his seasons either side of the drug enhanced year clearly show his true level of talent.

    • September 24th 2017 @ 2:47pm
      themadchatter said | September 24th 2017 @ 2:47pm | ! Report

      If the match review panel don’t deem that as a suspendable offence given his record this year with giving other players concussions, any fine he receives will also come with it a 1 game suspension. Make the tough call AFL and ban him from playing in the Grand Final. It might make players think twice about causing potentially long term injuries.

    • September 24th 2017 @ 3:43pm
      Al said | September 24th 2017 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

      If Colchin is banned the public should call for a mass resignation from the MRP. If a little thug like Greene can get away with kicking a player in the face Colchin has no case to answer.

      • September 24th 2017 @ 4:08pm
        Rex said | September 24th 2017 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

        So, ask yourself this

        If Greene had done what Cotchin did, to Martin, and dusty then missed the rest of the game – and that influenced the outcome, and Richmond lost ….. what would your opinion be???????

        Based on your comments I’d say you’d want Greene strung and quartered!!!!

        Deny if you wish – you would fit right in to the rest of them

        • September 24th 2017 @ 4:25pm
          Al said | September 24th 2017 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

          The truth is it was a fair bump no matter who did it. As for the other that sounds like a fair penalty for Greene.

    • September 24th 2017 @ 5:27pm
      Craig Delaney said | September 24th 2017 @ 5:27pm | ! Report

      ‘2. Was Cotchin contesting the ball?

      This is the question that should ultimately clear Cotchin. If the MRP decides he was contesting the ball and had no realistic alternative way to contest the ball, he will be cleared of both rough conduct and forceful front-on contact. This is the question the Panel members will spend most of their time debating on Monday. It is easy to say Cotchin was contesting the ball, because he ultimately won it. But there is the possibility the MRP will say he was first clearing a path to win the ball. What he is doing with his arms will be interesting. His right arm is tucked, an action that suggests Shiel is his focus, but his left arm is attempting to collect the ball. That should be enough to give the midfielder the benefit of the doubt.’ – Nathan Schmook, AFL website.

      Nathan Schmook is normally pretty astute, at least at predicting what the MRP will do. Note, this doesn’t mean he and they get it right all the time. This quote, which is inaccurate and illogical, reveals the pressure which has already been brought to bear on the MRP with Cotchin’s case. Reading the whole post, Schmook chops and changes around, and, unusually for him, leaves the reader uncertain as to what his verdict is. I suggest this is the effect of the pressure for and against that is going around.

      Three examples:

      How many cases of careless conduct could be defended, wrongly, as a way to contest the ball? As the only way, sure, but not necessarily a legal way. Get rid of the player first and then get the ball – fine, but legally. Head contact in the bump is no longer legal.

      Of course, Cotchin won the ball – Shiel was dazed, and in pain, so no longer contesting. Winning the ball does not cancel out the action taken to win it. Where is Nathan’s head in writing this? Not where it usually is.

      It’s what his right arm and shoulder are doing, driven by his sliding in, that should be the focus, not what the left is doing. There are understandably two movements of right and left which would be fine only if head contact was not made. Then play on and no MRP.

      The pressure on the MRP is coming from many quarters, and the AFL needs to develop a policy of sub judice ready for next year.

      • September 24th 2017 @ 7:09pm
        guttsy said | September 24th 2017 @ 7:09pm | ! Report

        I think the key question should be:

        Was Cotchin late to the contest?

        If it is considered that Cotchin was late to the contest then Sloane bending down head over the ball should receive the full protection that the MRP can provide and Cotchin should be suspended. An important element to note here is that it is the time that is important not the actual taking possession, if for example Sloane had fumbled the ball without taking possession then Sloane should be protected.

        If it is considered that Cochin was in the contest then the MRP must consider whether Cotchins approach on the contested ball was reasonable in the circumstances and also the question must be asked whether Sloane did enough to protect himself. If it is considered that either Sloane was doing enough to protect himself or that Cotchins approach on the ball was unreasonable in the circumstances then Cotchin should probably be suspended.

        If you look closely at the video Sloane is bending down to take possession of the ball but importantly hasn’t had time to yet take possession when the collision with Cotchin occurs. I also am of the opinion that Cotchins approach was reasonable in the circumstances and I am also of the opinion that Sloane should have done more to protect himself in this contest, moving his body side on to the approaching Cotchin. I think that Sloane putting his head down in that direction towards the approaching Cotchin, in a contested situation, was not protecting himself adequately.

        • September 24th 2017 @ 7:45pm
          guttsy said | September 24th 2017 @ 7:45pm | ! Report

          need to replace Sloane with Shiel in my above comment.

        • September 24th 2017 @ 11:09pm
          Craig Delaney said | September 24th 2017 @ 11:09pm | ! Report

          I think you have a general point in that the rule says to players, it will protect them. This can lead to players not using their heads ( scuse the humour) or their self-protective skills as much as they should. Too many young players seem to throw themselves in in ways that do not follow self-protective protocols. The ability to protect self and the ball is a fundamental that can go missing.

          But, in individual cases, like this one, we have to decide whether Shiel was right to consider the rule protected him from head contact. No rule would protect him from shoulder or body contact, nor should it. The rule is clear about it, just as it is about sliding into the legs. I think Cotchin was careless, and his aim was eventually to win the ball. But careless is no longer allowed in the contest. I suspect injury to Shiel either way, was low on his list of priorities. If Shiel was hurt in the getting of the ball, fine. If not, also fine. In his carelessness, Cotchin hit his head, and that is that.

          Important in all this is the fact that players almost always know when they are going to arrive late, and that’s when duty of care takes over. It used to be seen as honourable play in contrast to dirty play.

          • September 25th 2017 @ 3:09pm
            gattsy said | September 25th 2017 @ 3:09pm | ! Report

            “But, in individual cases, like this one, we have to decide whether Shiel was right to consider the rule protected him from head contact.”

            This is a good point. If you notice Shiel bends down to pick up the ball but the ball bounces away. When the ball bounces away he follows it in a crouched position, leading with his head, into a contested situation with another player (Cotchin). I’m satisfied that MRP made the right dcision in this case.

            What I’m not 100% sure of, is if situation happened in a highly congested situation like happens regularly when the ball is and 25 plus players are inside the 50 m arc, would be the right decision? In such case Shiel could easily face competition for the ball from multiple directions In such a case it may be unreasonable to expect Shiel to move his body to protect himself from Cotchin and potentially expose himself to a player throwing himself at the ball with greater spped from a different direction. Maybe in this situation a Cotchin type approach that contacts a players head should attract a suspension. But by the same token we obviously don’t want to encourage players to run around in a crouched postion trying to get a free kick (which I most definitely don’t think Shiel was trying to but there are most definitely afl players who would and put themself at risk of injury just to get a free kick in a critical situation).

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