North Melbourne coach Brad Scott has accused the AFL match review panel of frustrating inconsistency over Tom Hawkins’ contentious ban.
Scott’s Kangaroos will receive the benefit of the MRP’s controversial finding, with Hawkins to miss Saturday night’s clash between the ladder leaders and the third-placed Cats.
He reluctantly accepted a one-game ban for striking Greater Western Sydney’s Phil Davis rather than risk copping a two-game ban at the AFL tribunal.
But Scott would rather Hawkins was free to play and the MRP, overhauled by AFL football chief Mark Evans in 2014, displayed greater consistency.
“It didn’t look like a reportable offence, let alone a two-week suspension type offence,” Scott said on Wednesday.
“The frustrating thing was Mark Evans made it very clear when he took over that we don’t want players to miss games unless they do something stupid that deserves to miss games.
“The really unsavoury incidents … players should get suspended and they know that, but I thought he made it really clear that for these innocuous sort of things, that we don’t really like and we don’t want to condone, we’ll fine the players for that.
“And that’s the way it’s always been since Mark came in. This is the one time where it seems to fly in the face of all the previous other decisions.”
Scott believes the MRP’s handling of Hawkins signals a clamp down on similar incidents for the rest of the season.
“Just for credibility you have to, don’t you?” he replied when asked if he expected more suspensions to flow for similar acts.
“(But) if the MRP have made a statement, then that’s really unfortunate for Tom because they’ve made it probably after the fact.
“It’s all very well to say players are on notice now, but Tom didn’t get much notice, did he?”