Jack Viney has been found guilty of rough conduct at the AFL tribunal, with the Melbourne midfielder slapped with a controversial two-match ban for his bump on Adelaide’s Tom Lynch.
The decision was met with immediate outrage from footballing greats, current players and commentators, with many taking to Twitter to express their disillusionment, including Lynch’s teammate Taylor Walker (see below).
Viney, meanwhile, said on Twitter that he would not change his game as a result of the verdict: “Disappointing outcome tonight but I really appreciate everyone’s support! Many kind messages. Don’t stress Dees fans, I won’t change!”
The case lasted more than two hours on Tuesday and the three-man panel took 19 minutes to deliberate and conclude Viney had opted to bump Lynch instead of bracing for contact in the collision. See the incident in the video below.
This had been the central point of contention throughout the hearing, in which Viney and Alex Georgiou gave evidence about the incident that left Lynch with a broken jaw.
That can get stuffed this year. I’m not turning up. This is just fundamentally wrong.
Hawthorn icon Dermott Brereton, speaking on SEN, vowed he would not attend the AFL Hall of Fame ceremony this year in protest against the verdict.
“I am staggered. I’m really disappointed,” Brereton said. “I can’t withdraw from footy because I’m on contract, but … I’m in the Hall of Fame and I love going to those functions. That can get stuffed this year. I’m not turning up to their (AFL) functions. This is just fundamentally wrong.”
Viney will miss games against the Western Bulldogs and Richmond, although Demons football operations boss Josh Mahoney said the club was considering an appeal.
“We’ll look at what options we have,” Mahoney said. “We won’t be doing an appeal for appeal’s sake, but certainly – if we think there’s some grounds there – we’ll be taking that avenue.”
Viney gave evidence that he had suffered three concussions and a broken jaw in the past and, in response, Demons coach Paul Roos, who was in attendance, had trained him to protect his head in clashes.
Viney added this was an example of that and AFL legal counsel Jeff Gleeson was sympathetic, saying there was no malice from the on-baller and that it was up to the panel to decide whether he was bracing for contact or deliberately bumping Lynch.
Despite Lynch suffering a broken jaw, the panel determined the impact to be medium instead of high or severe.
Richmond playmaker Brett Deledio was found guilty of striking Geelong’s Mathew Stokes in the night’s second case, but avoided suspension. Player advocate Michael Tovey QC successfully had Deledio’s elbow on Stokes downgraded from intentional to reckless, meaning he will not miss the side’s clash with the Demons. Deledio’s good record means his tally of 125 demerit points was reduced to 93.75.
Feel for Jack Viney. Not sure what else he was to do? #robbed
— Jack Ziebell (@jackziebell) May 6, 2014
Can’t bump? Kids can’t tackle. Kids can’t play to win. Might as well go and play a violin because there is no contact #thisisajoke
— Tex Walker (@texwalker13) May 6, 2014
So if Viney doesn’t brace what happens? Broken ribs for him and no injury for lynch. No winners either way.
— Hamish mcintosh (@HMcintosh01) May 6, 2014
— Ollie Wines (@wines16) May 6, 2014
— Daniel Harford (@HarfSerious) May 6, 2014
Deplorable state of affairs! How has #Viney been found guilty??
— Jude Bolton (@Jude_Bolton) May 6, 2014
When will the AFL realise that the fans and players want the game to remain the physical one it always has been. Ban thugs not fair players
— Mark Ricciuto (@markricciuto) May 6, 2014
Viney verdict is a joke I’m starting to hate watching our game …#afl360
— David Wirrpanda (@wirra44) May 6, 2014
Viney incident classic case of one which should not be watched by judging panel other than in real time. Slow it down & you distort reality. — Tim Lane (@TimLaneSport) May 6, 2014
Everybody calm down. Please. The tribunal actually got it 100% right on Viney
— Damian Barrett (@barrettdamian) May 6, 2014