The introduction of the red card in the AFL has become a hot topic in recent weeks, particularly with injuries to key players disadvantaging teams so much that it could cost them a chance to win a game.
Two recent examples where a red card could’ve been applied involved two key players for their individual clubs: Port Adelaide’s Robbie Gray and Brisbane’s Harris Andrews.
Both players were concussed in separate incidents and took no further part in the games which clearly disadvantaged Port and the Lions.
Andrews was knocked out by a vicious elbow to the face from GWS key forward Jeremy Cameron, which caused bleeding of the brain. Andrews is yet to return to football, and could still miss more time. Cameron was suspended for five weeks and this was the perfect example of where a red card should’ve applied.
Gray was knocked out by Fremantle’s Ryan Nyhuis by a nasty sling tackle where Gray’s head hit the turf. Nyhuis was suspended for three weeks, however once again this was a clear disadvantage to Port Adelaide as they were down on rotations for the rest of the game and it potentially could’ve cost them.
The question has to be asked, how is it fair on Port and Brisbane when two of their key players don’t take any further part in the game?
The National Rugby League (NRL) has a sin-bin whereby a player is sent off for a certain period of time depending on how serious the act is that they commit. The AFL could adopt something similar for situations like when Adelaide Crows skipper Taylor Walker laid a big hit on Geelong defender Zach Tuohy.
Tuohy spent some time off the ground, however he played the rest of the game and Walker was reported and suspended for one game. He was very lucky that Tuohy wasn’t seriously injured otherwise the suspension could’ve been far more harsh.
Geelong were disadvantaged whilst Tuohy was off the ground so this could’ve been a perfect example of when the sin-bin rule could’ve been applied as Walker should’ve technically spent time off the ground as well for this big hit.
Time will tell whether the sin-bin or the red card will be introduced to the AFL; however I definitely think they both have merit in the game.
I’ll finish with this hypothetical, imagine if Richmond were playing in the 2018 Grand Final going for back-to-back premierships. Their star midfielder Dusty Martin is knocked out by a hip and shoulder and is stretchered off the ground to play no further part in the game.
Richmond supporters would be up in arms and it could potentially cost them a Grand Final. This could be a good example of where the red card could apply so that it is even for both sides.