AFL legends have slammed the match review panel’s decision to clear Port Adelaide forward Jay Schulz for a sling tackle similar to the one that sidelined Bryce Gibbs.
Schulz’s ferocious tackle on Sydney’s Ted Richards knocked out the Swans defender but the match review panel found the action was “not unreasonable”.
The review statement said as “the tackle was undertaken in one continuous motion, with no secondary action” there were no grounds for punishment, even though Richards’ head hit the ground.
The punishment bemused Gibbs, who has just sat out two weeks from a tackle of Power midfielder Robbie Gray which resulted in a similar concussion.
The reigning Carlton best and fairest winner took to Twitter to write “I’m confused…” which could only be construed as a careful criticism of the match review panel’s judgement.
Carlton teammate Kade Simpson joined in by tweeting “Surely having a lend…..” but criticism from two of the game’s elder statesmen hit hardest.
Kevin Bartlett and Leigh Matthews, with 1284 games of playing and coaching experience between them, took to the social media site to give damning verdicts on the non-punishment.
Richmond 400-gamer Kevin Bartlett said the decision was a joke, while former Hawthorn hard man Leigh Matthews showed his bafflement.
“I reckon Gibbs rightly got a couple of weeks but Schultz gets off for very similar arms pinned and head burying knock out tackle, beats me,” he tweeted.
Richmond ruckman Ivan Maric and Essendon defender Mark Baguley were the only men suspended on a busy week for the match review panel.
Maric will miss a Friday night AFL date with Carlton after being served a one-week ban for striking.
The important Tiger tall caught GWS youngster Jack Steele in the head with his elbow as the midfielder looked to challenge a rucking contest in their round 14 AFL clash on Saturday.
GWS midfielder Toby Greene has also avoided a ban, but has been served a $1500 fine after footage caught him spitting in the direction of former teammate Anthony Miles.
His coach Leon Cameron is unlikely to be pleased, saying after the match he would be very surprised if there was any malicious intent from Greene, claiming the ex-teammates to be great mates.
From the same match, Tigers captain Trent Cotchin was handed a $1000 fine for a late spoiling effort that collected the head of young Giant Zac Williams.
The ensuing melee was a more expensive exercise for the expansion club, with GWS leaders Callan Ward, Adam Treloar and Cam McCarthy sharing in $3500 of fines.
Jake Batchelor will also pay $1000 for his part in the 20-strong second-quarter fight.
Baguley was handed his one-week ban for lashing out at St Kilda teenager Jack Lonie behind play, striking him in the head.
The talented teenage Saint recovered to kick a goal of the year contender later in the quarter in St Kilda’s famous victory.