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AFL Commission considers alternative MRP

AFL Football Operations Manager Mark Evans addresses the media on the Jack Viney tribunal verdict on May 9, 2014. (Photo: Sean Garnsworthy/AFL Media)
Football operations boss Mark Evans
AN ALTERNATIVE Match Review Panel system that punishes lower-end offences with fines rather than carryover points is closer to being introduced after a presentation to the AFL Commission this week.
 
After running the alternative system in shadow through the 2014 season, football operations manager Mark Evans presented one element of the proposed new structure to the Commission on Monday, receiving positive feedback.
 
Video of a number of low-end incidents - including minor strikes and trips - was shown, with the Commission comfortable with those breaches being penalised through financial sanctions.
 
Evans is due to present his revised MRP system in full in November, with the Commission keen to see how repeat offenders would be dealt with under a system without carryover points.
 
"We showed the Commission some vision of lower-end incidents to see if they had any comfort they could be turned into financial sanctions rather than be assessed through the points system," Evans told AFL.com.au.
 
"They think there is some merit in looking at that, but they would want to see how that feeds into the other elements of the system - either the current system or the alternate system.
 
"This [presentation] was leading the discussion rather than asking for a conclusion."
 
The Commission's response this week makes it possible for the 2014 MRP system to stay in place next year with an adjustment to penalise low-end offences with financial sanctions.
 
However, it is understood the AFL Players' Association would have concerns about a panel that increases the amount of financial sanctions to replace reprimands.
 
The AFLPA has devised its own preferred system that removes carryover points as well as good and bad records.
 
Evans's proposed alternative for 2015 could yet remove carryover points altogether and have game-based penalties.
 
"We didn't discuss that (alternative) system with the Commission this time around, we only checked the suitability of some of those lower-end incidents becoming financial sanctions," Evans said. 
 
"We looked at an alternate system last year and we identified there were some issues with that system.
 
"One of the issues was what do you do with the lower end incidents, so this presents as a possible solution for that."
 
The Commissions concerns around repeat offenders could be addressed by increased fines or a 'strikes' system whereby players are suspended for a week after a nominal number of charges.
 
Other concerns with the alternative system - including an increase in free hits at the Tribunal - have been addressed since the end of the season.
 
There were also concerns around an increase in two-week swings in penalties when good and bad records were combined with early guilty pleas and failed Tribunal challenges.