You have to wonder about the decisions made by the match review panel when handing out suspensions to AFL players.
I know that there are systems in place and carry over points add to a higher penalty, etc. etc., but a lot of their decisions still don’t make any sense. To me at least.
Take the Scarlett vs Ballantyne example from round 1.
Scarlett's hit (Photo: Channel 7)
Watching the game live on TV, I said at the time that Scarlett would be lucky if he didn’t get six weeks. In retrospect that may have been a bit rich, given that he nearly missed Ballantyne and the Freo player took a dive shortly after.
Three weeks, then, is probably fair given the events that lead up to Scarlett’s brain snap.
What gets up my goat is that Ballantyne only gets two weeks for an off-the-ball incident that saw Paul Chapman vomiting on the ground. Chapman took some time to get over the crude hit.
At least, in Scarlett’s case, he had the guts to hit the Freo pest when he knew full well the cameras would be focussed on him.
Ballantyne, on the other hand, took a cheap shot off the ball, and for all intents and purposes, gets a slap over the wrist from the AFL.
Many years ago, Leigh Matthews got de-registered for an off-the-ball hit on Geelong’s Neville Bruns, who suffered a broken jaw in the incident. At the time, it was widely seen as an over-reaction from the league. Unfortunately, it seems they’ve taken almost a complete opposite view on similar incidents in the years that have passed.
Footy’s a tough game where players get hit and hurt. We all understand that. But cheap shots are weak shots, and players like Ballantyne need to be dealt with in the appropriate manner, so that fellow pests learn their lesson before their opponents have the wind knocked out of them.
Watch the Scarlett V Ballantyne here:
Watch the Matthews V Bruns here:
Do you agree? Is two weeks too soft? Comment below!