Former AFL tribunal member, Daniel Harford, has called on the League to appeal the tribunal’s decision to hand Richmond’s Bachar Houli a two-week suspension for striking Carlton’s Jed Lamb.
Houli was sent straight to the tribunal by the Match Review Panel, after knocking out Lamb with a swinging elbow to the Carlton player’s head.
Richmond’s case rested largely on Houli’s impeccable record and character references, with the Tigers backman using Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull and TV presenter, Waleed Aly as character references.
His miserly two-week suspension received heavy criticism from ex-players, media experts and fans.
“Somehow we’ve ended up with a two-week ban for ‘Player A’, which is absolutely manifestly inadequate and I have no doubt the AFL will challenge this (decision) this morning,” Harford said on RSN radio.
“There is case to suggest that if you make intentional contact with a forceful flailing arm to the head of an opponent to knock him out cold, straight away, you should be looking at six weeks.
“You cannot have situations where a player willingly, which was deemed by the tribunal, willingly hits someone.
“They may not have known it was going to hit in the head but knew it was going to be high, hit him with great force and force enough to knock someone out cold to serve a two-week suspension..
“It is manifestly inadequate. It is unacceptable that outcome last night.”
Current MRP member, Nathan Burke also criticised the decision, saying the tribunal should ignore whether a player is a “good bloke”.
“I would probably much prefer if you looked purely at the incident and graded it on that,” Burke said on FoxSports on Tuesday night.
“If you start bringing in ‘this bloke’s a good bloke, this bloke’s not a good bloke’, who are we to judge who is a good bloke and who isn’t a good bloke?
“Then what we end up with is disparate sentences. If somebody who goes in next week does exactly the same thing, but doesn’t know Waleed Aly and doesn’t know the Prime Minister, does that mean they get three or four weeks?
“That’s potentially where the issue lies.”
The AFL has until midday today to challenge the suspension.