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AFL NEWS: Noble defends youngster's shocker after 'family bereavement', Stewart to face Tribunal over bump

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27th June, 2022
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North Melbourne coach David Noble has revealed much-maligned youngster Tarryn Thomas was struggling with the death of a family member during the Roos’ loss to Adelaide.

Thomas came under fire for poor body language throughout the match on Sunday afternoon, finishing with only three disposals in his first AFL game after being shockingly omitted before the Kangaroos’ bye last week.

The 22-year old then was involved in an exchange with a fan on Instagram which quickly spread on social media.

Speaking after the 57-point defeat, Noble said Thomas had ‘really struggled’ following the death of his grandmother during the week.

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“He wanted to play for his nan and I’m sure he’s disappointed with the game that he put forward,” Noble said.

“He won’t be flying home with us… he’ll be going back to support his family.”

Thomas was soundly criticised by former Roos great David King during the match at Blundstone Arena, with the Fox Footy commentator accusing him of being ‘completely disinterested’.

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“I know he’s come in after a lay-off, he’s been give some tough love by the football club and been dropped for training standards, so it’s a bit of a reality check for where his football’s going after a terrific season in 2021,” King said.

“But he hasn’t been sighted at all in 2022, and today… he just needs to free himself up, release and go and play.

“What we’ve seen today has been a player that’s completely disinterested in this game of football. That’s a harsh comment, but I’ve watched him closely.”

The Roos’ loss was their tenth in a row by 47 points or more, and leaves them marooned in 18th spot on the ladder with just one win and a percentage of 52.2.

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Tarryn Thomas of the Kangaroos handpasses

Tarryn Thomas (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Stewart to face Tribunal over Prestia bump

Geelong star Tom Stewart has been sent straight to the AFL Tribunal for his bump that concussed Richmond’s Dion Prestia.

Stewart ran past the ball with his shoulder connecting with Prestia’s head in the first quarter of the Cats’ thrilling win, leaving the Tigers star prone on the ground in concerning scenes before being substituted out of the game.

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The incident has been graded as careless conduct, severe impact and high contact by Match Review Officer Michael Christian, carrying with it at least a three-week suspension.

However, Fox Footy‘s David King has slammed the AFL’s failure to take any meaningful action on eliminating concussions from the game, urging the game to focus more on Prestia’s wellbeing than Stewart’s punishment.

“Everyone wants to concentrate on the outcome of Tom Stewart’s likely suspension. I want to bring the conversation back to Dion Prestia,” King said on First Crack.

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“This is a moment in time when we’ve got to protect our own players. They’re the game’s assets, we’ve got to provide a safe workplace. He’s been knocked into next week.

“I don’t know what the damage is to him long-term, I’ve got no idea, but this is sickening vision to see this young man being helped from the ground.

“It took two or three minutes to get him off and he was in a bad way. It is so sickening to see.”

King accused Christian of failing to take head knocks seriously during his time as MRO, with Stewart’s bump on Prestia the end consequence.

He cited St Kilda’s Zak Jones escaping suspension for a bump on Swan Luke Parker on Saturday evening, deemed by Christian as ‘not unreasonable in the circumstances’, as a prime example.

“Along the way, we’ve had no markers. There’s been no one getting two or three weeks; they’ve either been getting off, or a fine, or one week – a whack with a wet lettuce leaf. And then we find ourselves here, and we go, ‘Oh, gee whiz, how did this happen? This is an accident’.

“And we make excuses for the player: ‘This is not him, this is really just a moment in time’. And I get all that. But what about Dion Prestia, who’s relying on the game to protect his safety?”

Pies urged to consider trading Grundy as back-up’s star rises

Former St Kilda great Leigh Montagna has urged Collingwood to consider a 50-50 ruck split between Brodie Grundy and Darcy Cameron, when the former returns from injury.

Grundy hasn’t played since injuring his knee on ANZAC Day against Essendon. In his absence, Cameron has relished the extra responsibility, with his strong form continuing with an eight-mark, two-goal game to prove crucial in the Pies’ 11-point win over GWS.

Speaking on Fox Footy, Montagna said Cameron ‘suits Collingwood’s style better as a ruck than Grundy’, urging the 28-year old to become more of a factor as a forward to provide the balance the Pies need.

“He’s [Cameron] growing by the week and it’s going to create a great conversation when Brodie Grundy comes back into the side, because Grundy can’t mark the ball contested like Cameron can,” Montagna said.

Brodie Grundy is tackled by Darcy Cameron.

Brodie Grundy is tackled by Darcy Cameron during Collingwood training. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

“You’re going to have to play Grundy and Cameron. I think Mason Cox misses out if Grundy is fit.

“I would like to see Cameron do a bit more ruck work than he usually would with Grundy in the side, almost a 50-50 split, rather than a 80-20 or 70-30.

“I think it’s time that Grundy has to develop his forward craft for the betterment of the team going forward.”

However, Geelong 2011 premiership captain Cameron Ling went even further, saying the Pies should consider trading Grundy to relieve pressure on their salary cap.

Grundy still has five years to run on a monster contract reportedly worth $1 million a season.

“If you could have Darcy Cameron on $400-500,000 playing the same level that Brodie Grundy is on a million a year, do you remove that $500,000 difference and spend it on another player that fills another really important need?” Ling said on Channel 7’s Al and Lingy Show.

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“I think they are list management conversations that could be happening internally. Do we get Darcy Cameron on $500,000 and another player from another club on $500,000 and move Brodie on?”

Cameron recently re-signed with Collingwood on a three-year deal.

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