The AFL has become so fast that it’s almost impossible at times to avoid accidental contact that can cause injury to opposition players and friendly fire.
We have even had experts in the media sit down this week and discuss the game as there have been calls for the game to be changed due to the current look.
In my opinion, there have been way too many rule changes causing confusion amongst both players and umpires. Former Collingwood player and expert commentator, Michael Christian, has the very difficult task of being the solo match review panel adjudicator. This involves deciding what penalty players should be given for their misdemeanours on the field.
The game should just be left alone and hopefully all the congestion and defensive tactics will disappear so that we have an open and free game that the fans want to see.
Accidental contact is one change that needs further investigation; particularly regarding players being suspended when their intention was to go after the ball not the player.
A perfect example is Robbie Gray, who was suspended for one match for concussing Shannon Hurn in the JLT Community Series. Gray is not a dirty player by any means and his focus was on the ball, not knocking out Hurn.
— Nine News Adelaide (@9NewsAdel) February 27, 2018
This week we saw the hot favourite to win this year’s Brownlow Medal, Nathan Fyfe, being suspended for a week and consequently being made ineligible in winning his second Charlie. Whilst the elbow to Collingwood’s Levi Greenwood was careless, Greenwood wasn’t injured at all and so a fine would’ve been sufficient.
Geelong’s Patrick Dangerfield was also a hot favourite last year for the Brownlow and was suspended for a tackle on Matthew Kreuzer, that resulted in Kreuzer being concussed. Like Fyfe, the tackle was careless, but it wasn’t a dirty act, more an accident, and Dangerfield isn’t a dirty player at all.
The Brownlow Medal is awarded to the best and fairest player each year; however I think that it is time to change the rules. It’s not fair that champions of our game and fair players in their own right are missing out on winning footy’s prestigious award.
Instead of calling it the best and fairest player, why don’t we just change it to the best player and that way we won’t see stars of our game like Danger and Fyfe missing out. If a player is suspended for a punching another player or an act that warrants a suspension of more than two or three weeks than that’s fair enough that they miss out on winning the Brownlow.
My other suggestion is that if there is an accidental or careless incident where an opposition player is injured then fine the guilty player. Only suspend a player when it’s a genuine deliberate act, like a hit off the ball or something similar to what occurred a couple of years ago, where Tom Jonas knocked out Andrew Gaff for a spoil that went horribly wrong.
Let’s hope that we don’t have a situation next year where a star of the game like Fyfe or Dangerfield misses out on winning footy’s most prestigious award because of accidental contact.
The sooner it’s changed and given to the best player rather than the best and fairest player, the better for everyone!