AFL Match Review Officer Michael Christian has been accused of showing too much leniency with a number of round one incidents.
North Melbourne’s Ben Cunnington and Carlton’s Liam Jones were offered $2,000 fines for off-the-ball incidents that left Nathan Wilson and Jack Riewoldt in serious discomfort.
In Cunnington’s case, Christian indicated that a favourable medical report from Fremantle medico’s played a role in determining the Kangaroos midfielder’s hit was low impact and worthy only of a fine.
The Match Review Officer explained to AFL.com.au the thought process behind the decision.
“He would certainly need to go off the ground (for it to be graded medium impact) … and for a considerable time,” Christian said.
“In terms of our four grades – low, medium, high and severe – medium would be off the ground for a significant amount of time, perhaps even a concussion test.
“If, for example, Wilson sustained broken ribs and was off for a considerable amount of time, then of course it would be graded a lot higher than low impact.”
Fox Footy’s Paul Roos was not convinced by Christian’s explanation, instead believing neither Cunnington nor Jones should be playing in round two.
“When did the injury become the biggest factor in what the suspension is?” Roos asked On The Couch.
“My view is don’t even take the medical into consideration while you’re watching.
“You watch the vision and then go, ‘That’s a week’. Then you pick up the medical reports … and you decide whether you whack another week on.”
Brisbane legend Jonathan Brown was equally critical of Christian’s decisions.
“I think Michael Christian had a good opportunity to suspend them for one week,” Brown said.
“Just citing them in the first place and suspending them for a week sends a clear message to the playing group from Michael Christian.
“But now you’ve got nowhere to go. You’ve set the precedent for the year.”