Yes, we have had some ordinary decisions by them in past seasons, but the last fortnight has absolutely taken the cake – I can’t keep my mouth shut about it any longer.
Firstly Lindsay Thomas gets cited for the infamous slide, when he was clearly just first to the ball and trying to protect it – cited simply because Gary Rohan broke his leg. Yes, it was very disappointing for the young Swan, but seriously – anyone who thought that was worthy of a report needs to follow a different sport. In time, as it should have been, the report was thrown out and justice was done.
Then, just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, along comes three more howlers this weekend. Firstly, Joel Selwood is apparently given free reign to smack his tagger in the face - just because he is Joel Selwood. There can be no other explanation. Can you imagine if it was, say Ryan Crowley who gave that little cheap shot? I for one am sick of the football world portraying Selwood as this holier-than-thou ball player who should be held in the highest regard and respect for the way he plays the game. Maybe once that was the case, but not anymore. Off-the-play incidents are quickly become the norm for him – the way taggers get into his head would be something all opposition coaches would be watching very carefully. Selwood has surely severely dented his reputation in recent years, and has a long way to go before he can be put anywhere near in the same league as guys like Jimmy Bartel or Lenny Hayes. The fact he didn’t get one week for that incident is ridiculous (but great for my SC team!).
Andrew Raines, of course, got three weeks – as he should’ve, and he’s very lucky it gets reduced to one week with a guilty plea. His retaliatory strike was more forceful and completely unacceptable. However, having said that, how the hell did he get away with the slide directly into Selwood’s head? What planet are these MRP goons living on that they would cite Thomas one week for something accidental but not cite Raines for something clearly deliberate and potentially way more dangerous? The only explanation possible for that balls-up is surely that they felt sorry for already suspending Raines for the other episode. Absurd.
Finally, to top it off, we have the Leigh Montagna fiasco. I was listening on the radio to that game and when that incident occurred, Nathan Brown immediately said “I’ve just watched that on the replay, it was an accidental knock to the head, he’s got absolutely nothing to worry about”. Lo and behold, two days later the MRP hand down a 3 week ban to Montagna, 2 weeks with an early plea.
For what exactly? Clearly they simply watched the vision of the players rolling on the ground, saw one come off with a split cheek and decided to issue a punishment to the other without having any idea what happened. In a moment of clarity and common sense, the case was thrown out tonight after James Magner advised the AFL that it had been an accidental knee from Montagna that caused the injury to his face.
Just what is happening behind the closed doors of the Match Review Panel? Massively inconsistent decisions, followed by rulings where they have clearly just “guessed”, are unacceptable. There has to be a better way – this system is clearly not working.
What are your thoughts on this unfair, inconsistent panel? Tell us below