Bulldogs to push AFL into MRP changes

Western Bulldogs will urge the AFL to remove the rigid classification of on-field offences by its match review panel (MRP) after being stung by Jack Redpath’s three-game ban.

Bulldogs president Peter Gordon has criticised the matrix system of review, which classifies incidents by conduct (intentional/careless), impact (severe to low) and contact (high/groin or body).

Gordon, who has a background in law, wants the system to be replaced with legal experts — rather than former players — reviewing incidents.

“What I think we need are some judicial officers with common sense and experience in football who can look at it and make a decision based generally on the facts,” Gordon told SEN radio on Thursday.

“Not in accordance with some pre-imposed paradigm about gradings of intent and gradings of impact.

“There’s been an inappropriate focus on trying to achieve that sort of consistency, like codifying or grading levels of intent and levels of impact.

“No degree of intent is ever 100 per cent the same as another and no degree of impact is ever the same.”

The MRP comprises former players Jimmy Bartel, Michael Jamison, Michael Christian, Nathan Burke and Jason Johnson.

The AFL tribunal suspended Redpath for three matches on Tuesday after the key forward was charged with striking Greater Western Sydney’s Phil Davis during the Giants’ 48-point win on Friday night.

He could have accepted a two-game ban with an early plea.

Redpath’s legal team argued his open-handed blow was a push and careless, not intentional, and to Davis’s upper chest rather than his neck.

Gordon insisted he wanted to see more protection for players, praising the league for cracking down on sling tackles and high contact.

But he expressed concern penalties were sometimes too harsh.

“We will at the end of the season be communicating with the AFL about our concerns,” he said.

A number of issues have put the MRP in the spotlight this season, with critics claiming inconsistencies in rulings around punches.

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