GWS midfielder Tomas Bugg has defended his collision with St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt, saying he never intended to take out the AFL star.
Bugg cannoned into Riewoldt’s back during the last term on Saturday at Etihad Stadium.
There were concerns Riewoldt had whiplash and he went to hospital as a precaution, but the Saints are optimistic he will not miss any games.
St Kilda coach Alan Richardson said post-match that only Bugg would know his intentions in the collision – and added it was poor if the Giants’ player meant to bump Riewoldt.
The match review panel cleared Bugg of any wrongdoing, saying what he did was not unreasonable.
“From my end, it was unintentional. I was just going for the ball,” Bugg told the AFL website.
“It’s good to see Nick’s OK, and I think that’s the main thing to come out of it.
“I saw him last minute and just braced myself.
“I looked at the vision and I don’t even react to it because I didn’t think there was anything wrong.”
Bugg added he had sent Riewoldt a text post-match to make sure he was alright.
“I didn’t pay much attention to what was being said in the media,” he said.
Giants coach Leon Cameron defended Bugg’s tough style and said he had no issues with the collision.
“Tom Bugg’s a ball player,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“You could clearly see that he was anticipating that Nick was going to take the footy and he was ready to tackle him.”
Cameron said Bugg was pivotal in the last 15 minutes of the match, making some crucial decisions for a fourth-year player.
“He plays the game tough and we love that about him. That’s why he’s always in our starting 18 and I thought he was terrific on the weekend.”