‘Ridiculous’ AFL sentence slammed
AFL fans have been left confused after Nic Naitanui's tribunal hearing, where he was ultimately handed a one-game suspension.
Naitanui fronted the tribunal over a dangerous tackle to Port Adelaide's Karl Amon from Saturday's game.
The incident occurred during the final term after Naitanui tracked the ball toward the boundary line where Amon had collected the ball.
His tackle led both players into the turf with Amon's head collecting the ground and although he was able to take his free kick and play out the game, he now is listed as unlikely to play in round eight with concussion symptoms.
The decision to send the incident directly to the tribunal was enough to divide the AFL community.
A lengthy hearing which spanned more than two hours had the masses eagerly awaiting the outcome, but it was a certain statement from the tribunal counsel which stole the spotlight.
Representing the AFL was Jeff Gleeson and his remarks to Naitanui left fans around the nation completely perplexed.
Speaking over the phone, Naitanui explained his thoughts on the incident and stated he was trying to roll Amon in the tackle.
"As I'm trying to roll him, his left foot has dug into the turf and we're both falling together in that motion," Naitanui said.
It was then that the counsel responded with the confounding statement.
Gleeson argued that the height and weight of players has to "go into the basket of considerations" and that players have a duty of care to do what they can to avoid committing a reportable offence.
He followed this up by stating players "compute" their height and weight compared to opposition players at countless times throughout a game.
The spectacular stance was met by a large chorus of outrage with many arguing the counsel's ruling would hamper the game.
"Oh boy, different rules for different sizes? Good luck to the umpires," one person on Twitter wrote.
Guess big guys can’t tackle small guys anymore then, given the AFL’s lawyers argued that Nic Naitanui should’ve tackled less hard because he’s bigger than Karl Amon 🤷♂️ #AFL— Ryan Buckland (@RyanBuckland7) 9 May 2018
West Coast lawyer David Grace unsuccessfully tried to argue the concussion Amon received wasn't due to the Naitanui tackle, but a collection of incidents from throughout the game.
After showing clips of several moments where Amon's head had made contact with the turf, Grace argued Naitanui constantly exhibits a duty of care.
"This is a body contact game. A player such as Nic Naitanui, as large as he is, exhibits throughout the game and every game, the type of responsibility and exhibiting a duty of care to other players constantly," Grace says.
"He knows because of his size the potential damage that he can cause. What he did in this case is seek to avoid any damage to Amon.
"You have to take his evidence into account. He is entitled … to attack the ball with vigour, with momentum. That's the exciting part of our game.
Unfortunately the tribunal eventually concluded the tackle was "inherently dangerous" and chose to uphold Naitanui's ban meaning he'll miss his sides round eight contest.
The counsel's decision has left many fans of the game struggling to comprehend how players are supposed to attack the ball. Naitanui however stated he "won't change the way I play".
The confusion however from Wednesday night's hearing and the wording from the AFL surrounding the incident will leave fans scratching their heads for day's to come.