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Viney's suspension simple

Damian Barrett  May 7, 2014 12:26 PM

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Suspending Jack Viney was the only option, argues Damian Barrett

The people so fond of footy's past don’t seem to realise there won't be a viable footy future if we don't address such issues
Viney 'very unlucky,' says Demetriou
Past, present players slam verdict
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IT'S actually very simple.
 
Cause damage to an opponent's head at an AFL venue in 2014 and there is a penalty coming your way.
 
Hopefully at some stage today, everyone who's been rolling out the "game is dead" and "I'm not going to watch footy any more" statements will realise that Melbourne's Jack Viney was going to be suspended the moment Adelaide's Tom Lynch had his jaw broken.
 
It's just the way it now is. Bad luck for Lynch. Worse luck for Viney, who clearly did not intend to break Lynch's jaw.
 
This oh-so-predictable outcry from ex-players and frothing-at-the-mouth supporters who yearn for the supposedly good old days of the past – those days where players would deliberately get picked off behind play and face no consequence – is nothing but wasted energy.
 
In 2014, we cannot endorse a game that allows for jaws to be broken or faces fractured or heads cracked and sit back and do nothing about it.
 
The people so fond of footy's past don’t seem to realise there won't be a viable footy future if we don't address such issues in the way Viney was dealt with on Tuesday night by the AFL Tribunal.
 
For every hot-blooded male who uses the "game is like netball" line, there is a female fearful of a son pursuing an Australian football career.
 
This debate was the one the AFL was supposed to have, and should have had, after round one last year. So we are already 14 months behind schedule.
 
Remember when North Melbourne’s Lindsay Thomas made head contact with Collingwood's Ben Reid at Etihad Stadium last year? Despite having powers to act against Thomas, the Match Review Panel wimped it.
 
The AFL admitted this in late 2013.
 
At last year's national draft on the Gold Coast, AFL football operations boss Mark Evans addressed coaches and senior football officials on the topic of head clashes.
 
He said then that the AFL had to take very seriously ALL concussion incidents and head injuries. It was implied more than stated that incredible pressure was being applied by insurance companies. And that the threat of legal action down the track was already a major concern.
 
There are already dozens of legal cases being prepared by ex-players who will be seeking damages for head injuries incurred in their AFL careers. Watch this space.
 
So line that fact up with what happened to Lynch last weekend. He had his jaw broken and his head badly jolted.
 
What if he was to suffer post-football brain problems and then take such matters to the courts? How would it look for the AFL if part of his court case highlighted the Viney hit, and it had been established the AFL had not acted? No doubt, Lynch's legal representative would mount an argument that the AFL therefore condoned such on-field action.

The Viney incident frame by frame: Hover your mouse to pause and scroll forwards or backwards


North Melbourne coach Brad Scott summed up this matter perfectly on Footy Classified on Monday night when he drew a distinction between knowing what the tribunal would do to Viney against what he would like to have happen.
 
The next day, the Tribunal ruled as he knew it would and suspended Viney.
 
Those who argue that had Lynch not suffered a broken jaw we wouldn't have heard one more thing about the Viney incident are correct.
 
Just like we never hear anything about the motorist who runs a red light and is fortunate enough to not hit anyone on the way through. But we are all made aware of the motorist who runs a red light and collides with someone crossing the road.

In footy in 2014, if you break someone's jaw, no matter how, you need to know you will be sanctioned.
 
From now on, forget the words like intent, impact, intentional and negligent which the Match Review Panel uses, and be aware that a broken jaw means a suspension.
 
From now, realise that the "good old days", whatever and whenever they were, are no longer ... and that "good, old-fashioned shirtfronts" that accidentally involve the head will be acted on.
 
It's just the way it is.
 
Twitter: @barrettdamian