Sydney coach John Longmire believes Dan Hannebery had no option but to crash into Michael Hurley’s head, now the Swans must hope the AFL’s match review panel shares his outlook.
Hannebery and Hurley were both hunting a loose ball in the third quarter of the Swans’ 50-point win over Essendon at Etihad Stadium on Friday night when they collided.
Hurley bent over to take possession of the Sherrin when he was floored by Hannebery, who turned his hip but appeared to act on instinct rather than out of malice.
“I had a look at it and I guess the question I’d ask is what else was he supposed to do?” Longmire said.
“One, he could not go for the ball and you don’t want to encourage that.
“Two, he goes in head first as well and I don’t want to encourage that either.
“So I don’t know what the other options are.”
None of the umpires believed the incident warranted a free kick, let alone a report.
Like Jack Viney’s hit on Tom Lynch a fortnight ago, the clash warrants the question – was Hannebery bumping or bracing for contact?
“He’s going the ball,” Longmire said of Hannebery, who is in the middle of a purple patch and would be sorely missed against Geelong on Thursday week.
“If he goes in head first as well, it’s two heads hitting each other. Nobody wants that.”
Both players were temporarily stunned by the impact.
Hurley was forced from the ground but returned and Bombers coach Mark Thompson said he was fine.
“I’ll just leave that up to the tribunal. I don’t have a strong opinion,” Thompson said of the incident.
“I don’t know. I can’t comment.”
The match’s other heavy collision resulted in concussed umpire Troy Pannell leaving the ground on a stretcher after clattering into Nick Malceski.
“He (Malceski) said he just didn’t see the umpire,” Longmire said.
Lance Franklin booted five goals, his best haul in the red and white, in an impressive team performance against the Bombers.
Longmire implored his side to maintain the same level after the bye.
“We’ll make sure we get the overalls back on after,” he said of his approach to the mid-season break.