AFL Rd 2 - Geelong v Hawthorn
GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 12: Patrick Dangerfield of the Cats is tackled by Shaun Burgoyne of the Hawks during the 2020 AFL Round 02 match between the Geelong Cats and the Hawthorn Hawks at GMHBA Stadium on June 12, 2020 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

The AFL has taken a drastic measure to amend the ruling on dangerous tackles after veteran Hawk Shaun Burgoyne was not suspended for his tackle on Patrick Dangerfield.

Burgoyne will be free for selection for Thursday’s clash against Richmond despite AFL football boss Steve Hocking, General Counsel Andrew Dillon and CEO Gillon McLachlan re-writing part of the Match Review guidelines on Monday.

Match Review Officer Michael Christian issued a $1000 fine to Burgoyne for the tackle on Dangerfield that was deemed careless contact, high contact and low impact.

The change in the guidelines will likely mean if a similar incident happens this weekend, the player will likely be suspended.

Sections 4.3 (E) and 4.2 (B) had their wording changed, with 4.3 (E) changing ‘arms’ to arm’ to state:

“The Player being tackled is in a vulnerable position (i.e. arm(s) pinned) with little opportunity to protect himself,”

While 4.2 (B) will replace ‘spear tackle’ and ‘driving an opponent into the ground when his arms are pinned’ to ‘any dangerous tackle’.

CEO McLachlan spoke on the action taken Monday.

“After reviewing the decision and the current adjudicating framework in place, the Match Review Officer’s findings were appropriate, however, it has become obvious that the framework in which the MRO works relating to dangerous tackles requires strengthening,” McLachlan said.

“We want to be clear; protection of the head is our highest priority and we want all players at all levels and age groups to better understand that these tackles shouldn’t be part of our game.

“Dangerous tackles have the potential to cause head injuries, and it is essential that this is taken into account when assessing an incident under the AFL Tribunal guidelines.”