The AFL is a hugely unique sport and all footy fans are immensely proud of that.
However, there is one unique part of our game that needs to fall into line with the majority of other professional sports around the world.
The AFL is one of the few sports around the globe in which the on-field umpire does not have the ability to send a player from the field for misconduct.
May was allowed to continuing playing, while Martin was forced to sit out the remainder of the match as he was in no fit state to return to the playing arena.
Essentially, the Suns were advantaged by this crude and unsportsmanlike like hit, as the Lions finished the match a man down.
— AFL (@AFL) April 16, 2016
May ran past the ball and had eyes only for Martin, in a direct attempt to take his opponent out of the game.
Such incidents should not only be punished by the Match Review Panel, but also by the on-field umpire.
A deliberate attempt to take another player out should not advantage a team, but instead result in a punishment.
Rugby Union and Rugby League have the sin bin, soccer has yellow and red cards and NBA, NFL and the NHL have ejections.
While, the Lions walked away with the points on the weekend, it could easily have had a huge impact on the match.
For justice to truly be done, a suspension after the match is simply derisory when such an incident can have such a profound impact on the result of the game.
A player can, within the current rules of the game, intentionally king hit another player in order to remove his opponent from the match and give his side an advantage.
This was more common practice in the football of the 1980s, and while we have moved past that era significantly, it is still a completely feasible situation.
The remarkable thing is, AFL rule 20 states that a player will be ejected from the field should he be reported for any of the following offences; “intentionally or carelessly making contact with or striking an Umpire…intentionally or carelessly kicking another person (or) an act of misconduct if the Umpire is of the opinion that the act constituting misconduct is serious in nature”.
However, the rule 20 also states, “this Law 20 applies to all competitions other than the AFL competition”.
This means that it applies to all junior and amateur competitions, but not at the professional level.
This law must be brought in at AFL level. It is a blight on the game that a player can carry on playing free of punishment on game day, despite conducting himself in a manner which could constitute a four or five week suspension.