AFL to abolish Match Review Panel in 2018

Stirling Coates Roar Guru

By Stirling Coates, Stirling Coates is a Roar Guru


24 Have your say

    AFL football boss Steve Hocking has today told media that the league will abandon the match review panel format in 2018, instead appointing Collingwood premiership player Michael Christian as a sole match review officer.

    Much-maligned over recent years by football fans for supposed inconsistency and poor understanding of the nature of the game, the match review panel was previously the independent body assigned to combing match footage for reportable offences and subsequently issuing penalties.

    But today, general manager of football Steve Hocking announced – alongside a number of sweeping changes to the disciplinary system – that the panel would be scrapped, with longtime MRP member and former Channel 10 commentator Michael Christian to take the reins as match review officer.

    Where the MRP was an independent body, Christian will report directly to Hocking and the AFL and will be also be made more widely available to media inquiries than the somewhat-opaque MRP was.

    Christian will consult directly with Hocking before issuing any penalties, but the process will reportedly take far less time than it did previously.

    Hocking claimed this move would help make the match review process far more understandable for the general public.

    “Through the recent 2017 season there was regular public uncertainty on the rationale for key decisions, with only a small number of incidents receiving an explanation or assessed via a full open examination at the AFL Tribunal,” he said.

    In order to encourage more tribunal challenges in 2018, the AFL will also remove the penalty reduction for an early guilty plea, meaning players won’t be punished on the field for challenging their suspension.

    Failed appeals will, however, incur a $10,000 club fine that will come out of the their football department spending cap.

    Other changes to the disciplinary process were announced in Hocking’s conference, including a general increase in all fines for low-level offences and automatic fines for staging, but a removal of the one-match suspension issued for receiving three fines in a season.

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (24)

    • Roar Rookie

      December 14th 2017 @ 5:49pm
      WCE said | December 14th 2017 @ 5:49pm | ! Report

      so we have eddie everywhere smashed all over our tv screens and ex c/wood player scrutinizing the reviews = WTF ????? so there is no independent non bias human available then ???

      • December 14th 2017 @ 6:05pm
        Virgil Starkwell said | December 14th 2017 @ 6:05pm | ! Report

        Agreed. Surely a former umpire would’ve been preferable.

        • December 14th 2017 @ 7:45pm
          Damien said | December 14th 2017 @ 7:45pm | ! Report

          Yeah, because when I think of umpires and their decision making words like sensible, common sense and accurate spring to my mind ?

        • Roar Pro

          December 15th 2017 @ 9:09am
          Darren M said | December 15th 2017 @ 9:09am | ! Report

          Perhaps they should have brought in a former umpire as a consultant.

      • Roar Guru

        December 14th 2017 @ 8:33pm
        Cat said | December 14th 2017 @ 8:33pm | ! Report

        All has to be signed off by Hocking too.

      • Roar Guru

        December 15th 2017 @ 4:19pm
        Peter the Scribe said | December 15th 2017 @ 4:19pm | ! Report

        Yep WCE! We are now working on Daicos judging Goal of the Year and maybe Billy Picken mark of the year.

    • December 14th 2017 @ 8:26pm
      PeteB said | December 14th 2017 @ 8:26pm | ! Report

      Well clearly the current system was failing so changes had to happen. Hope it works !

    • December 15th 2017 @ 1:23am
      dontknowmuchaboutfootball said | December 15th 2017 @ 1:23am | ! Report

      Someone here suggested two tables of penalties, one for football-related infringements (tackles, trips, bumps, etc.) and one for non-football infringements (strikes, bites, and the like), with only the latter leading to disqualification from the Brownlow.

      Disappointed to see that something like this hasn’t been taken up.

      • Roar Pro

        December 15th 2017 @ 10:54am
        Darren M said | December 15th 2017 @ 10:54am | ! Report

        I agree that there should be a distinction between in play and out of play events. Perhaps the easiest thing to do is to simply classify any off-play non-football related incidents as “”deliberate”, “intentional”, “reckless”, or whatever the highest category is.

        I think if you are careless in play and do serious damage (ie sling tackle, chicken wing or bump and take their head off) and you get rubbed out, that should still disqualify you from Brownlow contention though.

    • Roar Guru

      December 15th 2017 @ 9:13am
      Dalgety Carrington said | December 15th 2017 @ 9:13am | ! Report

      I struggle to see how this will improve decision making over the longer term.

      This role is all about perception, both in the categorising of incidents and the accumulative perception of the media and fans. I can see how doing something flashy to the process results in a PR win now, but I reckon they’ll be creating a rod for their backs once the tricky situations roll in and there’s all the more ingredients for people to see this as an agenda driven process.

      In fact the more I think about it, with the pressure brought to bear on one person, the more this is prone to being a process not driven by reasoning, but rather the prevailing opinion of the media and footy public.

    • January 25th 2018 @ 1:02pm
      Leonard said | January 25th 2018 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

      “AFL to abolish Match Review Panel in 2018” – and good riddance, too.

      Now, what should be the next to fill the [ ]s in ‘AFL to abolish [whatever] in [whenever]?

      My first nomination: pre-season inter-club games, no matter what fancy-nancy name some acned PR parasite has dreamed up. YES to pre-season intra-club games, but NO to pre-season inter-club games.

      Inter-club games have meant not a goddam thing since 75,000 saw the Bombers play the Tigers in 1993’s GF at Waverley; nothing in terms of pre-season team / player preparations and club management operations would be lost if such games went solely intra-club.

      There could even be a 24-game season, with a 17 opponent matchups + one derby / blockbuster rematch + six other rematches more evenly allocated – PROVIDED that gametime was 4 x 15 minute quarters + time on, which many fans would prefer in their time-poor lives, as would the ‘media partners’. Maybe, even, less ‘junk time’?