GWS coach Adam Kingsley has lamented the Head Injury Assessment that saw Giants forward Brent Daniels spend the dying minutes of their preliminary final loss to Collingwood on the bench.
Daniels was tackled from behind by Magpie Nick Daicos with 13 minutes left in the final quarter, with the Giant hitting his head on the ground.
Daniels would remain on the field for several more minutes as the Giants medical staff closely analysed vision of the incident, but with six minutes to go, the forward was pulled from the ground and given a SCAT5 concussion test.
It has been reported that a concussion spotter in the ARC – the AFL’s video review system – informed the Giants to check the incident.
Under AFL rules, players who undertake the full test are required to spend at least 15 minutes on the bench, ruling Daniels ineligible to return for the crucial final minutes in which the Giants, trailing by a solitary point, were unable to score.
“We were really disappointed to lose Brent Daniels to a HIA assessment that he passed, comfortably, in the last five minutes of the game,” Kingsley said in his post-match media conference.
“[Daniels’ absence] hurt us around the ball, a little bit of leg speed, some overlap run, so that’s extremely disappointing.
“I haven’t seen the incident, but from what I’m led to believe, it didn’t warrant having to take him off the field to assess it.”
However, according to SEN reporter Tom Morris, the Giants only had themselves to blame, as it was the club doctor, with only a recommendation from AFL medical officials on the scene, who chose to err on the side of caution and put Daniels through the HIA protocols, which he quickly passed.
“It is entirely up to the doctors if they want to take that [AFL doctors’ advice] onboard or not,” Morris said on SEN’s Crunch Time.
“On this occasion, the GWS doctor did take that on board- then the GWS doctor had a choice, in that moment, to quickly assess him and send him back on, or deliver a SCAT test.
“The doctor chose the latter, meaning Daniels was out for a mandatory 15 minutes.
Initially GWS felt dudded – they felt as if the AFL had told them what to do – but the AFL doesn’t order the doctor what to do. They have no overriding power over the doctor.
“In the cold light of day, I think now GWS concede that this was a combination of the ARC officials asking them to have a look, but also their own doctors making a judgement call – a conservative one.”
An AFL spokesperson told AAP spotters don’t have authority to overrule club doctors and make players undergo a SCAT5.
The spotters are there to assist club doctors in noticing potential head trauma, not to make the final call on whether a player should be taken off for a test.
The incident raised controversy given Carlton’s choice to put neither captain Patrick Cripps nor defender Jacob Weitering through concussion protocols, despite each suffering knocks during the Blues’ thrilling semi final win over Melbourne.
“I don’t accept that the doctors couldn’t get out there or they didn’t see it or whatever happened. He was clearly groggy,” Lewis said on Fox Footy.
Daicos isn’t expected to face MRO scrutiny for the tackle despite Daniels’ concussion test, with teammate Scott Pendlebury holding the Giants’ right arm on the way down preventing him from stopping his fall to ground.