“Consistency and universality are the tests of truth.” – Plato
The famous Greek philosopher would be turning over in his grave with the latest Match Review Panel decisions, spanning over a brutal and fierce 2017 season.
Patrick Dangerfield accepted a one-match suspension for his tackle on Matthew Kreuzer against Carlton in Round 19.
The tackle, which was seemingly innocuous, went unnoticed by players, commentators and fans alike, with Dangerfield himself only hearing about the issue post-match. Kreuzer didn’t miss a game.
In the same round, Luke Hodge received a one-match ban for striking Tom Papley. This was Hodge’s third off-the-ball striking offence this year however it was only his first suspension.
Trent Cotchin has been found guilty twice this season for striking an opponent, yet has not been suspended.
Similarly, with Dustin Martin, who has struck players off-the-ball without an eyelid batted.
And what about Toby Greene, who has been found guilty and suspended for striking twice this season, reported for head-butting Isaac Heeney and cleared due to “insufficient force” and when he kicked Luke Daulhaus in the face, he gets let off with a fine due to a MRP “interpretation” of the offence?
Players are cited or not cited, cleared or not cleared, suspended or fined…all based on the inconsistencies of a small group of Match Review Panellists who control the outcomes with their inconsistent interpretations.
The Russian Roulette of the Match Review Panel is alarming.
These outrageous and confusing decisions have left us all wondering.
Is inconsistency the only thing the MRP gets right?
Umpires, players, coaches and fans have NO IDEA how the rules will be interpreted on a week to week basis, with similar incidents receiving dramatically different penalties and outcomes.
How, in a professional game, can we not get the basics right?
How does the AFL allow this to continue?
The definition of consistency is “the adherence to the same principles, course and form.”
This is a definition that the Match Review Panel obviously doesn’t understand as there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to their decision making.
Have we forgotten about the leniency shown to Nat Fyfe in 2015, after his third on field indiscretion was downgraded to allow him to remain eligible to win the Brownlow?
What about Lance Franklin’s rough conduct on Clay Cameron in round 12 2014, which saw him let off, even though the bump was an obvious example of punishable misdemeanour?
How on earth did Ollie Wines from Port Adelaide not get suspended for his deliberate high, late hit to the head of Tom Langdon – even when Langdon was not in a position to protect himself? How did the MRP review this hit as “careless”?
And even when they get it right, they still manage to get it wrong.
Bashar Houli deserved four weeks, not the initial two he was given, for his hit on Jed Lamb earlier this year knocking him unconscious.
How does that compare to Jack Redpath’s push to the chest of Phil Davis which cost the Bulldogs forward three weeks suspension?
Brodie Grundy’s tackle on Ben Brown was deemed legal by all three officiating umpires, with Grundy also receiving a free kick for holding-the-ball after Brown exited the field on a stretcher.
However, Grundy received three weeks from the MRP, with the tackle being deemed ‘illegal’.
And don’t get me started on Phil Davis who has taken three dives this season causing fellow players to be suspended for harmless incidents.
It’s about time he was spoken to by the AFL for staging. It’s time he was punished by the AFL for his actions.
The AFL promised to remove staging from the game but where is the action or punishment.
It’s not a good look.
Contradiction is out of control at the MRP.
This Panel was set up to support this great game and administer the rules properly. It is now the laughing stock of Australian sport.
The current system penalises clubs who attempt to challenge MRP decisions. You lose? You receive the full ban.
We hear coaches explain week after week why they are hesitant to challenge unfair decisions, in fear that they will lose their battle and the punishment will be greater than originally given.
What is this teaching coaches and their players? To adjust the ways in which they coach and play in order to fit the ever-changing rules.
We supporters must watch with great discomfort as the MRP is consistently inconsistent with decisions that really should be straightforward.
So, Gill McLachlan, in the words of the great coach John Kennedy…“DO SOMETHING!”
The MRP is an embarrassment to you and the AFL Board.
Is this the legacy you want to be remembered for during YOUR leadership?
I leave you with four words.
Mirror. Good. Hard. Look.