Infotainment Factory: AFL consider red card in tribunal review

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Wednesday, 3 October 2018

AFL consider red card in tribunal review


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The AFL is looking at introducing a red card rule, despite the misgivings of chief executive Gillon McLachlan.

One of the many ramifications from Andrew Gaff's punch on Andrew Brayshaw in the round 20 Western Derby is that it renewed calls for a send off rule in the league.

McLachlan remains unconvinced but it is on the AFL football department's agenda in the post-season review of the tribunal system.

Punching, head-high contact in bumps, umpire contact and the use of boot studs are other review topics.

Any changes to tribunal rules or interpretations will be in place by December.

"We're up for that (red card) discussion, as much as Gill publicly has had personally ... let's recognise that's a personal view, as far as Gill goes," AFL football operations manager Steve Hocking said at a Wednesday media briefing.

"It's not where we sit with it, so if we do think as an industry we do need to shift into that space, we're absolutely open to that discussion."

Obvious issues around a red-card system are when it should apply and who decides which incidents warrant a player being sent off.

No umpires were immediately aware that Gaff had punched Brayshaw off the ball.

It cost the West Coast star an eight-week ban, ruling him out of their grand final win, while his Fremantle opponent's facial injuries were so severe that Brayshaw did not play for the rest of the season.

While the Gaff-Brayshaw incident and Tomas Bugg's punch on Callum Mills last year are obvious candidates for a red card, the AFL points to Jeremy Cameron's five-match ban this season as a less certain case.

The GWS star's heavy clash with Harris Andrews left the Brisbane defender with severe concussion and bleeding on the brain, but it happened in a marking contest.

The Gaff and Bugg punches happened away from play.

One possible alternative to red cards is a substitute system, where players listed as emergencies can replace teammates forced out of a game because of a non-football incident, such as punch off the ball.

Another hot topic is head-high contact, with Hawthorn defender Ryan Burton fined, not suspended, for the bump that hospitalised North Melbourne on-baller Shaun Higgins.

That round-five incident polarised opinion and plenty of commentators thought Burton deserved a harsher penalty.

The AFL met with senior coaches on Tuesday night and one of the topics was umpire contact, especially at centre bounces.

Coaches want the AFL to pay free kicks against players who make contact, after a fines crackdown this season.

Hocking is unhappy that some players are using the umpires effectively as screens at centre bounces to escape the attention of opponents.

"They are not fair game, umpires," Hocking said.

The AFL is looking at introducing a red card rule, despite the misgivings of chief executive Gillon McLachlan.

One of the many ramifications from Andrew Gaff's punch on Andrew Brayshaw in the round 20 Western Derby is that it renewed calls for a send off rule in the league.

McLachlan remains unconvinced but it is on the AFL football department's agenda in the post-season review of the tribunal system.

Punching, head-high contact in bumps, umpire contact and the use of boot studs are other review topics.

Any changes to tribunal rules or interpretations will be in place by December.

"We're up for that (red card) discussion, as much as Gill publicly has had personally ... let's recognise that's a personal view, as far as Gill goes," AFL football operations manager Steve Hocking said at a Wednesday media briefing.

"It's not where we sit with it, so if we do think as an industry we do need to shift into that space, we're absolutely open to that discussion."

Obvious issues around a red-card system are when it should apply and who decides which incidents warrant a player being sent off.

No umpires were immediately aware that Gaff had punched Brayshaw off the ball.

It cost the West Coast star an eight-week ban, ruling him out of their grand final win, while his Fremantle opponent's facial injuries were so severe that Brayshaw did not play for the rest of the season.

While the Gaff-Brayshaw incident and Tomas Bugg's punch on Callum Mills last year are obvious candidates for a red card, the AFL points to Jeremy Cameron's five-match ban this season as a less certain case.

The GWS star's heavy clash with Harris Andrews left the Brisbane defender with severe concussion and bleeding on the brain, but it happened in a marking contest.

The Gaff and Bugg punches happened away from play.

One possible alternative to red cards is a substitute system, where players listed as emergencies can replace teammates forced out of a game because of a non-football incident, such as punch off the ball.

Another hot topic is head-high contact, with Hawthorn defender Ryan Burton fined, not suspended, for the bump that hospitalised North Melbourne on-baller Shaun Higgins.

That round-five incident polarised opinion and plenty of commentators thought Burton deserved a harsher penalty.

The AFL met with senior coaches on Tuesday night and one of the topics was umpire contact, especially at centre bounces.

Coaches want the AFL to pay free kicks against players who make contact, after a fines crackdown this season.

Hocking is unhappy that some players are using the umpires effectively as screens at centre bounces to escape the attention of opponents.

"They are not fair game, umpires," Hocking said.

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