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Players facing over $100k in extra MRP fines

Punch crackdown, AFLW to lift, more A Footy Feed update with Matt Thompson

PLAYERS are set to hand over more than $100,000 in extra Match Review Panel fines in 2018 as a result of the sweeping changes introduced for the upcoming season. 

Using data from the 2017 season and applying it to the MRP's new table of offences, the AFL would collect $189,000 in player fines for classifiable offences, such as a low impact strike to the body. 

The League was handed $87,500 in fines last year for classifiable offences. 

The MRP's re-worked table of offences will spare players the frustration of being suspended for low-level offences, but the trade-off is heftier financial penalties that will flow through to AFL headquarters.

Fines for a first offence have been lifted from $1,000 to $2,000 with an early guilty plea, and penalties for a second offence increased from $1,500 to $3,000. 

Rather than being suspended for a third minor offence, players will be hit with a $5,000 fine with an early guilty plea in 2018.

The MRP handed out 84 fines for classifiable offences in 2017 – 67 for first offences and 15 for secondary transgressions. Only two players – Luke Hodge and Easton Wood – received suspensions for a third strike. 

Using those figures under the 2018 table of offences, the League would collect $101,500 more than it collected in 2017. 

An AFL spokesperson said the extra money would be required to cover the cost of Tribunal hearings, which are expected to become more frequent in 2018 after the risk of an extra match suspension was removed for challenges. 

Clubs will instead pay a $10,000 fine for an unsuccessful Tribunal challenge.  

Only Hodge and Western Bulldogs forward Jack Redpath mounted unsuccessful Tribunal cases in 2017, with all others either successful or referred directly by the MRP.

After the cost of running the MRP and the independent Tribunal and Appeals Board hearings is accounted for, the AFL said remaining money would continue to flow through to concussion research.