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Cats left bloodied after Optus Stadium fence hits

Geelong's Mark Blicavs was left with a cut hand after colliding with an Optus Stadium fence - AFL,Geelong Cats,Mark Blicavs,Zach Tuohy,Optus Stadium
Geelong's Mark Blicavs was left with a cut hand after colliding with an Optus Stadium fence

THE AFL has declared that Perth's Optus Stadium had met all of its health and safety regulations despite Geelong's Mark Blicavs and Zach Tuohy suffering significant cuts to their hands after colliding with the LED fence signage on Sunday.

The League is still in the process of investigating how the injuries to Blicavs and Tuohy occurred, with AFL football operations manager Steve Hocking stating that player safety was paramount: "We are absolutely 100 per cent committed to player health and safety." 

Hocking said the LED signage at Optus Stadium is the same as that used at the MCG, Etihad Stadium and Geelong's GMHBA Stadium, and did not rule out placing further safety measures around the advertising if it's deemed necessary following the probe.

"I will acknowledge the fact that that stadium is fit and has certainly been risk-assessed. It's in alignment to all the stadiums around the country," Hocking said.

"It is unfortunate and we'll work with the club over the coming days to support the players."

Blicavs and Tuohy were forced to leave the field under the blood rule in Sunday's game against West Coast after they stretched their hands out to prevent themselves from going head-first into the fence. 

It is understood Blicavs required nine stitches in his left hand and five stitches in his right elbow following the incident in the second quarter, when he lost his balance in a marking contest with Eagle Brad Sheppard on the outer side of the ground.

Tuohy also received treatment and needed stitches to patch up his wound as he too left the ground through the blood rule in the second term.

The defender was trying to halt his momentum to stop himself from hitting the fence in the back pocket on the broadcast side when he suffered the injury.

Both players came back onto the ground and played out the rest of the game.

WATCH: Cats left sore after fence collisions
 

Hocking said the way the incidents unfolded was unlucky for the players involved. 

"The run-off (between the boundary line and fence) is within the legal limits," Hocking said.

"They certainly hit it with some force. I managed to watch that game late yesterday and it's disappointing and for those instances to happen in the same quarter was just extraordinary as well.

"There's definitely an element of luck there."

Earlier on Monday, an Optus Stadium spokesperson provided this statement to AFL.com.au: "Optus Stadium will liaise closely with the AFL to review the incidents from yesterday’s match. Whilst Optus Stadium meets all the required AFL standards, the primary priority is the health and welfare of the players."

As part of their routine checks, the AFL and the competing clubs tick off on the safety measures at grounds before games go ahead.

It is understood the Cats were in communication with the AFL on Monday morning about the injuries suffered by Blicavs and Tuohy as the League collected all the information available. 

Hocking said the League would work with the Cats to support the players involved.

Bloodied bandaging can be seen on Mark Blicavs' left hand after the game. Picture: AFL Photos
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