Kangaroos coach Brad Scott has added his voice to some of the game’s former greats in calling for Melbourne player Jack Viney to be cleared after he was controversially sent straight to the AFL tribunal.
Viney was referred directly to the tribunal on Monday for his bump that left Adelaide forward Tom Lynch nursing a broken jaw. See a video of the incident below.
Richmond playmaker Brett Deledio and Geelong’s Mathew Stokes can both accept one-match bans for striking with early pleas, but it was the match review panel’s ruling on Viney that triggered all the outrage.
Lynch was sandwiched between Viney and Alex Georgiou in the incident on Saturday, which the panel opted against grading.
Melbourne coach Paul Roos said Viney would be pleading not guilty to the rough conduct charge.
Dermott Brereton and Matthew Lloyd were among a handful of past players that were bewildered to hear Viney had been charged.
“I hope he gets off for the sake of the game,” Essendon great Lloyd told 3AW. “If he didn’t brace like he did, he would have knocked himself out.
“He would have left himself that open … it would have been like ten-pin bowling, all the heads would have smashed into each other.”
Our game will forever change if Viney gets wks for his clean bump…. Can’t believe it’s gone this far… AFL pls have common sense on this
— Cam Mooney (@cam_mooney) May 5, 2014
Brereton suggested it could be a landmark case because Viney’s intent was not to bump, rather to brace for impact. “We have to find him not guilty,” the five-time premiership winner said on radio station SEN.
“If we do (find him guilty) what we’re now saying is we don’t want any injuries, regardless of the scenario. We’re going to tailor our sport so we don’t get injuries, and that’s not what our sport is about.”
Scott, speaking on Footy Classified, said that Lynch was not in possession of the ball, “so he (Viney) really couldn’t tackle him”.
“What I think they will do and what I hope they will do are probably two different things,” he said. “I don’t think Jack had time to make a decision to tackle.”
Roos confirmed on Fox Footy that Viney would be pleading not guilty. “We’ll defend it vigorously,” Roos said. “We’ve had a really good look at it. We believe Jack is actually bracing for contact because there’s two guys coming the other way.”
Former Hawthorn and Gold Coast enforcer Campbell Brown called the panel’s verdict a “joke” on Twitter, while Brian Taylor went one further. “An absolute joke,” 1986 Coleman medallist Taylor said on 3AW.
“He had no momentum going towards that bump at all, it was all coming his way. It was like a car hitting a concrete wall.”
Brereton suggested it could be a landmark case because Viney’s intent was not to bump, rather to brace for impact.
“We have to find him not guilty,” the five-time premiership winner said on radio station SEN. “If we do (find him guilty) what we’re now saying is we don’t want any injuries, regardless of the scenario. We’re going to tailor our sport so we don’t get injuries, and that’s not what our sport is about.”
I called the game on Sat @triplemfooty and saw it live & now watched the replay 5 times if Jack Viney gets rubbed out our game is stuffed.
— Darren Berry (@Chucksaca) May 5, 2014
Deledio and Stokes were charged for their part in a heated second-quarter scuffle between the Tigers and Cats on Sunday.
Both are likely to take one-match bans.
Fremantle midfielder David Mundy (rough conduct) and Brisbane forward Luke McGuane (striking) were also charged by the panel, but can both walk away with reprimands should they log an early plea.
North Melbourne forward Lindsay Thomas, reported for striking Gold Coast’s Danny Stanley on Sunday, was cleared by the panel.