Jordan Lewis recently mentioned how players are now laying players on the ground when they go limp in a tackle so as to protect them from injury (and probably avoid suspension the truth be known). One solution is to ban tackling and adopt a “touch footy” approach?
Thats a joke of course!
Western Bulldogs captain Katie Brennan, has been suspended, lost an appeal and missed the AFLW Grand Final for a tackle that for 150 years would have been applauded from both sides – it was a beauty!
Katie didn’t want to focus attention on her situation and distract the preparation from the team so she withdrew her court appeal and just filed proceedings with the Australian Human Rights Commission challenging the AFL rules instead – that’ll get some attention!.
I’m reluctant to mention the last few years bumping incidents because of the breadth of inconsistency.
So here we have two great (fundamental) elements of our game severely under threat – no, relatively extinct. All in the name of community or society values and sending brand enhancing messages. I’m sorry but I just don’t get it.
How can a competition that has been so respected for its raw courage and physical contests be reduced to this?
Before you cry foul, let me once again say – for the umpteenth time – the courage displayed and physical attributes (including sublime skills), of current day players is beyond reproach and unquestionably the best its ever been. I will go on to say that fact has also been a constant for 15 decades. Each era is similarly improved in all aspects of the game.
If a player bumps another player and both players hit heads and are concussed, does the bumping player get suspended or is it put down as accidental contact?
Players should be allowed to bump if the first contact point is the body. Any resultant whiplash scenario’s should be put in the “that’s footy” basket. Perhaps players with the footy will accept more responsibility to protect themselves rather than the completely open approach they currently adopt. Merrett was wide open, reaching in. In bygone days he would’ve had a choice to make in a split second. One option was the decision he made, another would have been to turn his body whilst taking possession and the third would be to meet the opponent physically whilst taking possession.
My point is we are taking the physical contests and clashes out of the game and in my mind they are vital to the spectacle. Players are rarely hurt.
Secondary to that why hasn’t the media focussed their attention on the untouchable medical/sports science staff? Why has it taken them so long to be paranoid about player concussions and act in a more protective manner? If player management was of a more professional standard perhaps future repercussion concerns could be avoided?
Maybe its time players miss 4 weeks and the rest of the season if they have 2 concussions?
It may give the player and club something to think about when writing reports also?
My point is; don’t completely ruin the game for the sake of professional mismanagement.
The tackling dilemma is an even more simple fix. Any player caught with the footy should be penalised for holding the ball. Watch players keep the ball alive!!!
It will be fascinating as I expect they would release by hand or foot a nanosecond prior to being tackled (much like yesteryear). The ridiculous situation at the moment is players only release if they have a team mate in the vicinity, otherwise they are directed to hold on to it, create a ball up and start again.
The benefit here is less ball ups, more contested footy, more one on one contests and excitement. Just think of the last few minutes of a game when teams are tied? They play on and release the footy every time instinctively and its spectacular to watch.
Coaches are diluting the spectacle with tactics that disallow players to do this in any other situation other than the aforementioned close finish.
Another reminder to the AFL; allow the AFL to be a very different set of rules than every other competition in the country. Make state, country, metro, women, kids, footy send the messages to society.