The scuffle between Melbourne’s Jack Viney and Tom McDonald came about after Viney broke a crucial unwritten rule: don’t smash your teammates in training.
The conflict, which involved a bit of push and shove and a few verbal barbs before the pair were separated, was sparked after McDonald took offence at being dumped in a tackle by Viney during a drill.
Captain Nathan Jones played down Tuesday’s stoush but said reducing the risk of injury in practice contests was important, in particular after a long pre-season with the AFL’s NAB Challenge matches around the corner.
“It’s getting towards games and there’s a bit of tension fired up,” Jones told SEN radio.
“I think, in the case yesterday, that’s why Tommy fired back.
“It’s good to see by the boys. It didn’t overstep the mark.”
Injury from friendly fire would be a potential disaster for any club heading into the season.
Brisbane star forward Jonathan Brown missed the start of the 2012 AFL season after suffering a facial injury from a stray knee by defender Matt Maguire in training.
The incident forced Brown to undergo his third facial operation in 11 months, while Maguire was criticised by some for going too hard on his skipper.
Jones said intensity at training was a positive but the physical impacts should be minimal.
“Not hurting one another’s the main thing,” Jones said.
“We try to sort of not dump blokes in tackles.
“There’s a bit of care taken with tackling and a bit of care taken with, in particular, aerial contests.
“At times, it’s a split second decision and accidents happen.”