AFL to appeal decisions against Curnow brothers

By John Salvado and Jason Phelan,

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69 Have your say

    AFL football boss Steve Hocking has appealed the decision by the tribunal to fine rather than suspend Carlton duo Ed and Charlie Curnow for making contact with an umpire.

    The Curnow brothers had been charged with making deliberate contact with an umpire in separate incidents in Saturday’s win over Essendon, only for the tribunal to downgrade the charges to careless contact, resulting in $1000 fines.

    The appeals will be held at 3pm AEST on Thursday.

    The Curnow findings were in stark contrast to the one-week ban handed to Geelong forward Tom Hawkins the previous week for a similar incident.

    Gold Coast co-captain Steven May also had a similar charge downgraded to careless contact on Monday night, although the AFL chose not to appeal that finding.

    Hawkins took a one-game ban in a plea bargain-style deal after he was threatened with a two-match suspension for touching an umpire during the Cats’ round-seven win over GWS.

    The Curnow brothers made almost identical cases to the tribunal on Tuesday night.

    Charlie touched umpire Matt Stevic and Ed made contact with umpire Nathan Williamson during the match against the Bombers.

    In similar statements submitted into evidence, both umpires said they didn’t say anything at the time contact was made, neither felt threatened or had any issues with what had occurred.

    “I’d just like to say that we both highly respect umpires and their position in the game as officiators and their importance to the game at all levels,” Ed Curnow said as he left the hearing.

    “We both understand the tribunal’s decision and we respect the process involved.”

    The Blues’ next match is against Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday.

    © AAP 2018
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    The Crowd Says (69)

    • May 16th 2018 @ 1:02pm
      Kane said | May 16th 2018 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

      Why not appeal May’s charge as well, it would only be because he’s playing in China this week. AFL is becoming a joke. I’ve got no idea how they can overturn Charlie’s charge. Ed’s maybe but only because of what happened to Tom Hawkins.

      • May 16th 2018 @ 3:46pm
        Macca said | May 16th 2018 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

        That’s the odd one, if they think Ed’s and particularly Charlies were intentional and should be assessed as such it is hard to argue that May’s contact wasn’t intentional.

    • Roar Rookie

      May 16th 2018 @ 1:31pm
      Michael Pallaris said | May 16th 2018 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

      They’ll probably get a week.

      • Roar Guru

        May 16th 2018 @ 1:42pm
        Cat said | May 16th 2018 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

        After the Hawkins ruling that is what all three deserve (May should have been appealed too).

        • May 16th 2018 @ 1:52pm
          Kane said | May 16th 2018 @ 1:52pm | ! Report

          Even Charlie Cat? To be fair though, Hawkins did hit the umpire’s arm away.

          • Roar Guru

            May 16th 2018 @ 2:19pm
            Cat said | May 16th 2018 @ 2:19pm | ! Report

            To be honest I have only seen the poor vision on twitter. Is there better vision made public that shows where he was looking before and at the time of contact?

            • May 17th 2018 @ 9:04am
              Don Freo said | May 17th 2018 @ 9:04am | ! Report

              The Roar has had it,, ABC, all the TV channels…

              I did tell you about May. Twitter is unreliable. Come to me for info. They’ll both get a week but that would be unfair to Charlie. The tribunal was right with him.

              • Roar Guru

                May 17th 2018 @ 9:06am
                Cat said | May 17th 2018 @ 9:06am | ! Report

                You said he would get off. He did not. He was incorrectly fined when he clearly should have been suspended though.

              • May 17th 2018 @ 9:20am
                Don Freo said | May 17th 2018 @ 9:20am | ! Report

                I think we all know that getting a fine IS getting off.

              • May 17th 2018 @ 9:50am
                Birdman said | May 17th 2018 @ 9:50am | ! Report


        • May 16th 2018 @ 2:01pm
          Joe B said | May 16th 2018 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

          It’s an interesting one… May looked like he was explaining what he was doing, including physical movement, to the umpire. The Curnow brothers appear to make contact for no reason, or at least unexpectedly.

          • Roar Guru

            May 16th 2018 @ 2:17pm
            Cat said | May 16th 2018 @ 2:17pm | ! Report

            May looks the most intentional of the lot. I beleive he had every intent to push into the umpire to show that is what he believed happened – it was a part of his demonstration. He clearly knew right where the umpire was.

            • May 16th 2018 @ 3:16pm
              Kane said | May 16th 2018 @ 3:16pm | ! Report

              I agree with you on May which makes me wonder why the AFL didn’t appeal it. From what I seen of Charlie’s it was nothing and shouldn’t have even been looked at. And I agree Ed had to go because Hawkins went and because Hawkins went then May had to go. I thought the change in the MRP was supposed to make it all easier for everyone to understand but even the players are dumbfounded every week by the decisions made.

              • Roar Guru

                May 16th 2018 @ 3:22pm
                Cat said | May 16th 2018 @ 3:22pm | ! Report

                To be fair the MRO has been consistent. He referred all 4 to the tribunal.

                Its the AFL only seeking 2 weeks against Hawkins that is inconsistent. We’ll never know if the tribunal would have let Hawkins off with a fine also if Hawkins wasn’t forced into pleading guilty. The Tribunal has been consistent letting off all 3 who pled guilty with fines only.

              • May 16th 2018 @ 4:14pm
                Kane said | May 16th 2018 @ 4:14pm | ! Report

                Pled guilty to the lesser charge of careless contact tho whereas Hawkins I believe pled guilty to intentional contact. The players are more confused over the bump where head contact is made rulings than the umpire touching though.

              • May 16th 2018 @ 8:17pm
                Steve009 said | May 16th 2018 @ 8:17pm | ! Report

                Working consistently until the AFL in their wisdom step in. They can’t help themselves, they even need to tamper with their own systems that they have in place.

              • Roar Guru

                May 16th 2018 @ 4:18pm
                Cat said | May 16th 2018 @ 4:18pm | ! Report

                Hawkins plea was forced on him by threatening an extra week (which is exactly the thing the AFL wanted to get rid of when they changed the MRP to the MRO in the off season. They didn’t want players to be punished for challenging – yet first chance they get that is exactly what they did). Hawkins initially said it was not intentional but changed his tone when threatened with the extra week. For the record I think Hawkins was as intentional as the others and the force used by all 4 is insignificant.

              • May 17th 2018 @ 10:28am
                Kane said | May 17th 2018 @ 10:28am | ! Report

                Wouldn’t this be Perverting the course of justice on the AFL’s behalf? A good lawyer would have laughed at it if this was the case and it would’ve been thrown out.

              • May 16th 2018 @ 4:25pm
                Macca said | May 16th 2018 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

                Its a bit harder to threaten bottom of the ladder clubs!

                It is a nice bit of warped logic from the AFL, threaten Hawkins into pleading guilty, then try to use Hawkins guilty verdict as a precedent to get the Curnows a week even though Hawkins may well have been found guilty of the lesser charge had they not threatened him to ensure the suspension.

              • Roar Guru

                May 17th 2018 @ 9:09am
                Cat said | May 17th 2018 @ 9:09am | ! Report

                No it isn’t Macca. The AFL didn’t even attempt to. Do you honestly believe your club could afford to lose the Curnow brothers for 2 games? If threatened with 2 or none I have no doubt your club would have dealt just as fast as mine did. Your club can afford to lose those players even less.

              • May 17th 2018 @ 9:19am
                Macca said | May 17th 2018 @ 9:19am | ! Report

                Cat – The blues would no doubt lose both games without the Curnow’s but they play Melbourne then Geelong and are unlikely to win either with the Curnow’s and the results have no impact on their finals chances.

                Geelong have a lot more to lose. It isn’t a criticism of Geelong – just a fact.

      • May 16th 2018 @ 1:51pm
        Kane said | May 16th 2018 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

        You could probably guarantee they will get a week now, the AFL will pull some strings even though Charlie shouldn’t get anything. Not sure why they didn’t appeal May, Burton and Parker’s though.

    • May 16th 2018 @ 2:02pm
      I ate pies said | May 16th 2018 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

      Maybe the umpires should stop getting in the players personal space.

    • Roar Guru

      May 16th 2018 @ 2:14pm
      JamesH said | May 16th 2018 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

      I think all three were very lucky to get off at the tribunal.

      There is nothing careless about any of the incidents – all three intended to make contact, for varying reasons. Charlie was keeping the umpire out of the road so he could get to the scuffle, Ed gently pushed the umpire away and May was demonstrating something to the umpire.

      There was no malice, no real force, but that’s not the point. If you deliberately make contact with an umpire (particularly when the ball is not actually in play) then you get a week.

      • Roar Guru

        May 16th 2018 @ 2:19pm
        Cat said | May 16th 2018 @ 2:19pm | ! Report


      • Roar Guru

        May 16th 2018 @ 4:42pm
        TomC said | May 16th 2018 @ 4:42pm | ! Report

        I’m the same, and I don’t understand why Steve May’s decision wasn’t appealed.

        These are fine lines, but to me May’s was the most serious of all the incidents.

        • May 16th 2018 @ 4:49pm
          Macca said | May 16th 2018 @ 4:49pm | ! Report

          I am pretty confident the blues lawyers will be asking the question on Thursday.

        • Roar Guru

          May 16th 2018 @ 5:21pm
          Dalgety Carrington said | May 16th 2018 @ 5:21pm | ! Report

          That looked the most accidental and clearest argument that there was nothing dismissive or aimed at the umpire, but just in the motion of demonstrating what happened in a contest in play.

          • Roar Guru

            May 16th 2018 @ 6:13pm
            TomC said | May 16th 2018 @ 6:13pm | ! Report

            He didn’t need to make contact with the umpire in doing so and it would have been very easy to avoid.

            People touch each other with their hands all the time in day to day life. It’s a normal event, it doesn’t mean there’s necessarily ill will. It’s pretty rare for someone to make contact with their audience with their head while in the act of gesturing and to me that indicates a different level of carelessness.

            And May starts a good half metre from the umpire. I think careless is a generous description of how the vision appears.

      • May 16th 2018 @ 8:34pm
        Steve009 said | May 16th 2018 @ 8:34pm | ! Report

        “There was no malice, no real force, but that’s not the point.”

        Maybe that should be the point

        According to
        In similar statements submitted into evidence, both umpires said they didn’t say anything at the time contact was made, neither felt threatened or had any issues with what had occurred.

        So why are suspending these players, because Tom Hawkins was? Surely the fine is enough for such incedental contact that even the umpires involved aren’t concerned with.

        • Roar Guru

          May 16th 2018 @ 9:00pm
          Cat said | May 16th 2018 @ 9:00pm | ! Report

          There is no ‘force below’ when dealing with contact with an umpire. Any contact is too much. Whether there ‘should be’ or not is not relevant. The rules are what they are.

          • May 17th 2018 @ 7:54am
            Steve009 said | May 17th 2018 @ 7:54am | ! Report

            They are the AFL’s own rules they are not bound by them.

            And the tribunal has actually made it clear that under the current rules that any contact isn’t worth suspension, but sometimes just a fine.

            We are not disagreeing that you can’t touch the umpire, just the level of penalty. I believe they got the decisions right this week, but the AFL’s actions on Hawkins was very wrong. The tribunal seem to agree with me

            • Roar Guru

              May 17th 2018 @ 8:03am
              Cat said | May 17th 2018 @ 8:03am | ! Report

              And the tribunal has actually made it clear that under the current rules that any contact isn’t worth suspension, but sometimes just a fine.

              Incorrect. The issue is Hawkins was forced to plead guilty of intentionally touching an umpire. The others pleaded guilty to carelessly (ie: they claimed they didn’t do it on purpose). Two different penalties for two different gradings. They were all intentional though. Somehow the tribunal has come up with a different meaning for intentional though.

              • May 17th 2018 @ 9:23am
                Steve009 said | May 17th 2018 @ 9:23am | ! Report

                Your right, the issue was Hawkins was forced to plead guilty by the AFL for intentionally touching the umpire.

                In the other cases without the AFLs interference the players were free to plead to carelessly touching and the tribunal decided a fine was appropriate. Now the AFL will interfere after the hearing, rather than before in the case of Hawkins.

                The tribunal, if left alone though, have decided these incidents only warranted a fine.

            • May 17th 2018 @ 9:15am
              Macca said | May 17th 2018 @ 9:15am | ! Report

              Cat – Hawkins pleaded guilty, the tribunal only sentenced him.

              To me the Hawkins case was like the cops (in this case the AFL) brow beating a suspect, threatening him with life imprisonment unless he helps them out and then he can do a deal and get a lighter sentence.

              That scenario can’t be used as a precedent in subsequent cases before the courts (the tribunal).

              So Steve009 is right when he said “the tribunal has actually made it clear” – its just unfortunate for Hawkins they did so AFTER he had been convinced by the AFL that he would be going down it was only a matter of for how long.

              • Roar Guru

                May 17th 2018 @ 1:24pm
                Cat said | May 17th 2018 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

                What is not clear at all is what actually constitutes intentional? How did the tribunal decide May and the Curnow brothers didn’t intend to touch the umpires? Ed is the only one who may have a case to say it wasn’t intentional but the rest, including Hawkins are dead set intentional.

              • May 17th 2018 @ 1:35pm
                Macca said | May 17th 2018 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

                I would say that given the umpires evidence that they barely noticed they were being touched and the fact that both Curnow brothers were looking in the opposite direction to the umpire when the touch occurred the tribunal downgraded their intent.

                As for May I have know idea.

                I would say that I think the tribunal is fudging a little on the “intentional” part due to the incredibly minor nature of the “touching” but they have been consistent with this interpretation.

    • Roar Rookie

      May 16th 2018 @ 2:38pm
      Mattician6x6 said | May 16th 2018 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

      Even though the afl are contesting surely the statements given by the umpires involved should carry most weight and as they were both very favourable to the curnows the tribunal decision should stand.

      • May 16th 2018 @ 2:51pm
        andyincanberra said | May 16th 2018 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

        I know that it’s going back some years, but when Greg Williams got 9 weeks for pushing an umpire, the umpire testified at the hearing stating that he never felt threatened or intimidated, you get the sense that he didn’t want Williams to get a harsh penalty. It don’t think that the umpire statements actually carry much weight in these cases.

      • May 16th 2018 @ 3:49pm
        Macca said | May 16th 2018 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

        The thing I found odd that the umpires didn’t even attend they just made a statement, given they were the “victims” why weren’t they compelled to be there to at least be cross examined?

    • May 16th 2018 @ 4:26pm
      Mic said | May 16th 2018 @ 4:26pm | ! Report

      Steve Hocking wants to appeal this decision to give our boys a week.
      Apparently, he was ordered to by brother Gary, who still holds a grudge for the shellacking they copped in the 95 grand final.
      Time to move on lads.

      • Roar Rookie

        May 16th 2018 @ 4:43pm
        Mattician6x6 said | May 16th 2018 @ 4:43pm | ! Report

        Knew whiskas was behind it somehow, did he put pressure on about nic nat to get revenge over 92/94?

        • May 16th 2018 @ 5:17pm
          Mic said | May 16th 2018 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

          Good point 6×6. There’s a real pattern emerging here. Might need a royal commission.

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