Eagles coach angry over Nic Nat AFL ban

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    West Coast coach Adam Simpson has blasted Michael Christian’s handling of the Nic Naitanui tackling controversy, labelling it as sloppy.

    And Simpson can’t help but wonder whether the match review officer has come up with a “Nic rule” to stop the powerful ruckman laying hard tackles.

    Naitanui was controversially handed a one-week ban for his heavy tackle on Karl Amon, which resulted in the Port player’s head hitting the turf.

    West Coast’s appeal failed on Wednesday night and the ban has left the footy world divided.

    Naitanui has pledged to keep playing in the same manner and Simpson doesn’t want his star player to change either.

    But he has been left confused by the whole saga, especially after seeing big bumps that resulted in heavy concussions going unpunished.

    Simpson felt Christian did a poor job assessing Naitanui’s bump.

    “On the Monday he gets to present what happened over the weekend and justify why the charges were laid,” Simpson said.

    “He just got that wrong with suggestions that both arms were pinned (and that) Amon came off and didn’t come back on. So that was just a bit sloppy.

    “The follow-up from that (is he went) on every radio station and suggested it was the easiest decision he’s ever made.

    “I would have thought we can make that (comment) after the tribunal, not before. So the natural justice I suppose of everything is a bit flawed there.”

    Simpson said he didn’t agree with Christian’s decision.

    And even worse, he’s now confused about what is and isn’t allowed in AFL ranks.

    Simpson said talk that Naitanui needed to assess the height, weight and movement of his opponent within 0.8 of a second before laying a tackle was simply too hard to do in the AFL.

    He said instead of tackling, Naitanui may have to resort to laying heavy bumps – something that could result in more serious injuries to his opponents.

    “I’ve got an 11-year-old son and a 14-year-old daughter who play footy and we want to try to protect them as much as we can,” Simpson said.

    “But the question I’ve got to ask myself and talk to Nic about is what do we do going forward?

    “He got the tackle wrong. That’s OK. That’s a free kick. But what does he do from now on?

    “So now I’ve got to make a decision, and so does Nic … does he hip and shoulder is the question?

    “Because I’m not sure there’s been any suspensions on that with incidental head knocks. I don’t think that’s the right thing to do but now I’m a little bit confused.

    “Maybe it’s just a Nic rule because he’s so powerful. And (they are sending the message) don’t be so powerful and strong and aggressive in the act of play – I’m not sure.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (29)

    • Roar Guru

      May 11th 2018 @ 8:08am
      DingoGray said | May 11th 2018 @ 8:08am | ! Report

      I really can’t see how this is a suspension when incidents like Cotchin last year get off….

      • May 11th 2018 @ 8:49am
        Aligee said | May 11th 2018 @ 8:49am | ! Report

        I would agree, i think the AFL has noted NN tackles earlier in this season and tackles unlike (FWI have seen) his earlier career and said via the club – change your technique.

        Obviously he hasnt, if as he says he wont change his tackling technique, he will be suspended again.

        • May 11th 2018 @ 9:07am
          Luke said | May 11th 2018 @ 9:07am | ! Report

          Like all those other times he’s been sited in the last ten years. #phonyoutrage

          • May 11th 2018 @ 9:15am
            Aligee said | May 11th 2018 @ 9:15am | ! Report

            That’s my point, view his tackles this year as distinct from previous years, big difference IMO.

            One against Geelong and one against Sydney this year have been awkward and verging on dangerous, read between the lines, they have been looking for an excuse to get him and IMO rightly so.

      • Roar Guru

        May 11th 2018 @ 9:06am
        JamesH said | May 11th 2018 @ 9:06am | ! Report

        It’s simple. If Cotchin had made that bump during the regular season he would have been suspended. If NN laid this tackle in a winning prelim side, he would have just been fined.

        That’s the rule – you basically have to commit an offence worthy of at least a two week suspension to get banned from a GF.

        • May 11th 2018 @ 9:34am
          Luke said | May 11th 2018 @ 9:34am | ! Report

          Where’s that rule written, do you have the source?

          • Roar Guru

            May 11th 2018 @ 10:44am
            Paul Dawson said | May 11th 2018 @ 10:44am | ! Report

            Rule is the wrong word. Convention is a better term

            Don’t be facetious, of course it’s not written down. Doesn’t mean there’s not some truth to the comment

          • Roar Guru

            May 11th 2018 @ 12:09pm
            JamesH said | May 11th 2018 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

            Call it what you want, Luke. It’s clearly the way the system has worked for some time now. See Hall, Barry, 2005.

            • May 12th 2018 @ 4:37am
              Lroy said | May 12th 2018 @ 4:37am | ! Report

              Its the ”sentimental Melbourne favorite versus the interstate interloper rule”

              Swans hadn’t won a flag in 70 odd years…they are the old South Melbourne..they needed every chance to beat the perfidious West Australian interlopers so he got of a clear striking charge.

              It was unprecedented, plenty of players had missed a grand final for less than that.

              Trent Cotchin same, Tigers hadn’t won in 30 odd years, it was only against the Adelaide Crows so no harm in throwing the rule-book, or all the precedents. Just let the guy off cos he plays for Richmond.

              If the Swans and Tigers had of played a true blue blood Melbourne club like, Collingwood in those grand finals Hall and Cotchin get a couple of weeks, no question.

              And the whole AFL world knows it, TV commentators even admit it…. its the old ”grand final week” rule. ”King hit a guy in the prelim but your playing an interstate side in the GF, your good mate” nudge nudge wink wink.

      • May 11th 2018 @ 1:21pm
        Guttsy said | May 11th 2018 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

        I think Cotchin was lucky he didn’t get judged as being “late to the contest” with Dylan Shiel. But I also see that Dylan Shiel could have done more to protect himself when the ball bounced away from him by turning himself side on the approaching Cotchin.

        One thing footballers can’t really get away from is the risk associated with the contesting the ball. Players have to have awareness so they can protect themselves while contesting the ball.

    • May 11th 2018 @ 9:01am
      Luke said | May 11th 2018 @ 9:01am | ! Report

      80 percent of players/fans think the decision was an absolute joke, the other 20 percent are no doubt the same 20 that argued Will Schofield’s striking charge on Clayton “I probably shouldn’t have fallen over, but I was just sort of scared” Oliver should have been upheld.

      • Roar Guru

        May 11th 2018 @ 9:13am
        JamesH said | May 11th 2018 @ 9:13am | ! Report

        Not sure about your stats, but what you’re basically saying is that only 20% of fans have managed to come to terms with the fact that the head is now sacrosanct. Slinging (like Danger), driving (like Nic Nat), bumping (like Thomas)… if your tackle causes a player’s head to hit the ground with force, or you collect their head when you bump, then you’re in hot water.

        There’s not point complaining about it. Like it or loathe it, this is AFL in an era where we are starting to understand the long-term consequences (medically, in the case of players, and financially, in the case of the AFL) of head injuries.

        • May 11th 2018 @ 9:30am
          Luke said | May 11th 2018 @ 9:30am | ! Report

          Stats are based on a couple polls. So what happens when a player ducks and cops high contact which causes concussion? It’s potentially foreseeable and you could have gone lower to prevent that. What about a front on tackle that lifts a player (no leg lift) and drives him back causing his shoulders and head to hit the ground. Or a high mark knee to the head which causes concussion? Do we have an automatic suspension on concussed players, or should we just label this tackle the nicnatsplat rule? I don’t doubt the AFL are scared of litigation, maybe they should admit that.

          • Roar Guru

            May 11th 2018 @ 10:48am
            Paul Dawson said | May 11th 2018 @ 10:48am | ! Report

            I would have thought had you actually taken the time to try and understand this issue it’d be obvious that there are no hard and fast rules at the moment. If a player is concussed and it’s sent for review it’s going to depend on the circumstances of the particular incident.

          • Roar Guru

            May 11th 2018 @ 12:20pm
            JamesH said | May 11th 2018 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

            I think a bit of common sense would tell you that a player is unlikely to get suspended in those situations.

          • May 11th 2018 @ 12:43pm
            Pope Paul VII said | May 11th 2018 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

            In fact Callan Ward was literally knocked out of the 2016 PF by a typically cunningly disguised clumsy Dunkley knee around 1/2 time. May very well have won them the flag.

            I reckon the NicNatSplat Rule is a splendid name for this type of incident.

        • May 11th 2018 @ 11:01am
          Stevo said | May 11th 2018 @ 11:01am | ! Report

          Really? Then how can you explain the Ryan Burton bump on Shaun Higgins? Burton had more time to consider his action than Nic Nat, he chose to bump instead of tackle and he concussed Higgins. The AFL deemed that it was OK because he couldn’t foresee accidental contact to the head, so he gets off.

          Nic Nat chooses to tackle in a fraction of the time that Burton had, and unfortunately injures Amon (delayed concussion) and he gets rubbed out. I believe that hysteria around the Nic Nat suspension is due to the gross inconsistency that the AFL and MRO are setting.

          So by the precedent set by the AFL and MRO, if Nic Nat elected to bump Amon instead and accidentally clashed head and knocked him out, then he would be fine? The AFL and MRO have seriously opened up a huge can of worms this year with their rulings to date on head high contact.

          • Roar Guru

            May 11th 2018 @ 12:17pm
            JamesH said | May 11th 2018 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

            “if Nic Nat elected to bump Amon instead and accidentally clashed head and knocked him out, then he would be fine?”

            Unless there was some careless element to the bump (like jumping of the ground to administer it), then yes. You’ve basically answered your own question. The AFL seems to accept accidental head clashes that aren’t the result of a careless act.

            What constitutes a careless act is open to interpretation and it will inevitably take some time to achieve clarity while a body of precedent is built.

            BTW, I don’t buy this ‘fraction of a second’ argument. Nic Nat had plenty of time to choose how he would tackle Amon and chose to drive him forward instead of just dragging him down or rolling him.

          • May 11th 2018 @ 12:23pm
            Slane said | May 11th 2018 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

            Nic Nat gave away a free kick for his tackle. Hard to argue it wasn’t careless when he rode Amon like a toboggan face first into the ground. Every week we see well executed tackles from behind, unfortunately Nic Nat’s wasn’t one of them.

          • May 11th 2018 @ 12:55pm
            Pope Paul VII said | May 11th 2018 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

            Regarding Burton most media were saying it was an accident and he didn’t mean to hurt him? This is strange because bumps are meant to hurt. I would have thought it was pretty easy to foresee a knockout.

          • May 11th 2018 @ 1:51pm
            Guttsy said | May 11th 2018 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

            One bad decision doesn’t justify another.

            I think Ryan Burton should have been suspended for his bump on Shaun Higgins because firstly this type of head on collision at speed is something that should discouraged in the game where their are reasonable alternatives and secondly Ryan Burton had the option to effect a much safer (to both him and Shaun Higgins provided Burton executed it correctly, which might be easier said than done, given a moment after the Higgins/Burton colission Vickers- Willis knocked himself out trying to effect a head on tackle at speed in asimilar situation) tackle but elected to perform a much higher risk bump instead.

            Shaun Higgins had the ball and despite his lack of awareness of the presence of Ryan Burton, he deserved better protection from the umpire and the match review process. A cheek to cheek (i.e. face cheek of the tackler to bum cheek of the player with the ball, so they putting their head behind the player with ball) tackle should be seen as the correct and safe tackling technique in this situation.

          • Roar Guru

            May 11th 2018 @ 1:54pm
            Paul Dawson said | May 11th 2018 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

            Burton should have got a week too. As others have said, one mistake doesn’t justify another. Any umpire who’s asked by a player to ‘square the ledger’ will tell you that

      • May 11th 2018 @ 11:08am
        Tim said | May 11th 2018 @ 11:08am | ! Report

        He was lucky to only get a week. Very dangerous tackle. The tribunal went soft on him.

        Similar to Dangerfield last year, everyone said he’d get off but he deserved and got a week.

    • May 11th 2018 @ 9:30am
      Guero said | May 11th 2018 @ 9:30am | ! Report

      Amon (Omitted)

      10/10 troll by Port.

    • May 11th 2018 @ 11:16am
      Pope Paul VII said | May 11th 2018 @ 11:16am | ! Report

      The human brain’s ability to make instant decisions at well under a second is nothing short of amazing. Batsmen can hit a plus 140kph bouncer over square leg with a .3 of a sec window.

      NN had plenty of time to decide what sort of tackle he was going to do.

      NN probably thought it was Christmas when he saw Amon in such a vulnerable position.

    • May 11th 2018 @ 1:28pm
      Jungle Jim said | May 11th 2018 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

      All the minute dissection and analysing aside, it really seems a storm in a teacup…Circus Hysteria will move on, footy will move on and keep evolving as it does. This weekend it will be footy as usual and hard tackles as usual. NN will undoubtedly change his approach (whether right or wrong) because he simply won’t want to miss more games! He will modify his approach and we’ll all move on.

    • May 11th 2018 @ 2:02pm
      Guttsy said | May 11th 2018 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

      Some fair points by Adam Simpson particularly about the AFL being able to put their point of view to the Media while the West Coast are unable to put their case to the media. In general once a club has said they are going to contest a charge at the tribunal their should be no comments to the media by either party until the case has been completed.

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