AFL great Terry Wallace has urged the league to introduce a send-off rule, but West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui doesn’t want to see it happen despite watching his teammate get cut down in thug fashion.
Port Adelaide defender Tom Jonas is facing a lengthy suspension after knocking Eagles midfielder Andrew Gaff unconscious with a crude elbow to the head in a marking contest.
Most lower levels of Australian Rules football have send-off rules for serious incidents, and red cards are well established in soccer and rugby.
Calls are growing for it to be implemented into AFL ranks following several big hits in recent years.
Gold Coast’s Steve May copped a five-week ban earlier this season for his sickening charge on Brisbane’s Stefan Martin.
And Richmond’s Ty Vickery copped widespread condemnation for his cheap punch on West Coast’s Dean Cox in 2014.
Wallace said serious incidents needed to be punished on game day, especially if the victim was unable to come back on.
“I would send him off. I thought he searched to make contact,” Wallace told SEN.
“In the time that Gaff went down, Port Adelaide actually caught back up in the match.
“Star player is down, (and) everyone who has seen it says this is a four-to-six week offence.
“Anything that is of that degree – four weeks upwards – you should be sent off.”
However, Naitanui doesn’t think a send-off rule would be a good fit for the AFL.
“I don’t think guys are doing anything too bad that warrants getting sent off,” Naitanui said on Monday.
“I don’t think it’s in anyone’s character. You don’t have guys these days growing up to do that purposely.
“It was a late hit (on Gaff), and not something you want to see. But I’m sure the match review panel will deal with it.
“I think it’s probably worse that you stay on the field when you do something like that – because you feel pretty bad.”
A host of Eagles players are expected to receive MRP fines for engaging in a melee following the hit on Gaff.
Naitanui said it would be money well spent.
“I think the boys will be pretty happy paying the fines,” Naitanui said.
“In the end you’re not doing anything silly – you’re just sticking up for your teammate.
“You’d probably get fined by the boys if you didn’t go in.”
Gaff will need to pass a concussion test if he is to play in Sunday’s clash with Gold Coast at Domain Stadium.
But even if he is ruled out, the Eagles are expected to encounter few problems against a Suns outfit ravaged by injuries.
The Eagles finally broke their travel hoodoo with their eight-point win over Port Adelaide, lifting them back to within a victory of second spot.