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The reluctance by the AFL to send players off or at the very least to introduce a sin bin is hard to comprehend given the ever increasing number of players that are unable to complete a match due to rough conduct.
Under the current system a team is greatly disadvantaged through no fault of their own while there is no action taken against the offending team.
A perfect example of this was in the Round 17 clash between Fremantle and Port Adelaide when Fremantle’s Ryan Nyhuis slammed Robbie Gray to the turf with a dangerous tackle which concussed Gray and left him unable to continue in the Mmatch.
This meant that Port Adelaide were a man down for the rest of the match and in a hard fought close tussle they went down by nine points.
With every match crucial at this stage of the season for those clubs who are in contention for the top eight, a loss could have huge ramifications.
It seems unfair that a team can lose one of their star players due to rough conduct and there is no immediate disciplinary action taken against the offenders.
Sure, Nyhuis was referred to the AFL Tribunal and given a three–game ban, but that didn’t change the result or offer Port Adelaide any solace after their defeat.
It’s high time that the AFL gives serious consideration to introducing a new system whereby if a team loses a player during a match through rough conduct that they can substitute another so that they aren’t disadvantaged.
At the same time the offending player should be sent off either to the sin bin or for the rest of the match, depending on the severity of his rough conduct to act as a deterrent and to take away any advantage that the offending team has under the current system.
The AFL was the last of the major codes to embrace Video Technology and once again it seems to be dragging the chain by allowing players to remain on the field after committing an act of clear and blatant rough conduct.
Until the AFL draws a line in the sand and enforces tougher disciplinary action during a match for rough conduct players will only continue to transgress, safe in the knowledge that they won’t be sent off.