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The MRP's consistent inconsistency is eroding its legitimacy

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Zane Gelsi new author
Roar Rookie
13th July, 2020

The Match Review Panel (MRP) has once again come into the spotlight this week, with a few similar actions from the weekend’s games receiving different outcomes.

Dylan Shiel (Essendon) and Brad Ebert (Port Adelaide) have been rubbed out for two weeks and one week respectively for their careless conduct.

Ben Long (St Kilda) has been sent straight to the tribunal to face the judiciary for his hit on Fremantle’s Sean Darcy. Gary Rohan (Geelong) can also accept his fine which he received from Thursday’s night clash against Brisbane.

Shiel’s bump on North Melbourne’s rising star nominee Curtis Taylor has been the most scrutinised out of the lot this far, with Shiel being charged with careless conduct, high contact and high impact.

Shiel has been in immense form since the season restart and was in Brownlow contention until the MRO officially ruled him out on Monday afternoon. Essendon have decided to appeal Shiel’s two-match ban given to the star midfielder, which will no doubt be a big talking point on Tuesday night at the AFL tribunal.

In a similar incident to Shiel’s bump on Taylor, Ebert has been given a one-match ban for his bump on GWS’ Harry Perryman. Ebert was sanctioned by the MRO with careless conduct, high contact and medium impact, which is one class down from Shiel’s bump.

Both bumps seemed very similar to the naked eye, while both players who were bumped in their respective games carried on to finish. MRO officer Dan Christian deemed that Shiel’s momentum was the ultimate decision that led to his two-match ban, saying to the AFL that “it comes down to the question of impact…[and] the intention to cause more serious injury”.

However, comparing the two side by side, it is crystal clear to see that Shiel’s was no different to Ebert’s bump. In fact, Shiel’s probably deserved less of a penalty than Ebert’s.

Shiel and Taylor were both attacking the footy with their bodies front on to the contest, where as Ebert was coming from Perryman’s blindspot and actually jumped off the ground to bump him.

Dylan Shiel

Dylan Shiel of the Bombers. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Now, this is the problem the public have with the MRP. If you are going to penalise one action for one thing, you can’t penalise the exact same action with a different outcome.

Long copped a deserving punishment for his bump on Darcy, and there is no complaint at all with how that unfolded.

There just seems to be so much inconsistency and surrounding this bump rule and now players are confused of what they can and can’t do.

On Thursday night’s clash, Rohan’s bump on Ryan Lester was graded as carless conduct, low impact and high contact.

This decision to only fine Rohan $1500 was laughable. Rohan had gone into the contest with full momentum and elbowed Lester to the face which was deemed as ‘low impact’….please.

For Rohan to only receive a fine for this and Shiel to receive two weeks just gives daylight proof of how inconsistent the match review panel is.

Shiel, who is a Brownlow contender has been hard done by the MRO giving the circumstances of other bumps across the round.


It was no surprise to see Essendon appealing his two-match ban after the MRO released its findings on other incidents.

Shiel will have to wait until Tuesday night at the tribunal to understand the verdict of his action.