BRISBANE has been fined $20,000 for breaching concussion guidelines during the 2023 NAB AFLW Grand Final in its handling of winger Sophie Conway during the second half of the match.
While Conway did not ultimately have a concussion, the club's conduct still constituted a breach of the concussion guidelines and Brisbane has been sanctioned by the League.
The breach relates to the club's delay in removing Conway from the field after the AFL's Concussion Medical Spotter noticed her stumble in the last three minutes of the third quarter.
As per the League's protocols, the Lions were required to get Conway off the field so she could undergo further assessment, including a SCAT5 test.
The Lions were alerted by the Spotter, but Brisbane's doctor did not see the message and so Conway played out the remainder of the third quarter.
The Brisbane doctor was made aware of the message at three-quarter-time and assessed Conway, who told him her loss of balance was due to physical exertion and not contact with another player.
Conway was thus permitted to return to the field while video footage of the incident was reviewed, before the SCAT5 was conducted.
She played the first few minutes of the fourth quarter before being pulled from the field and undergoing a SCAT5 that did not identify any concussion symptoms.
Conway played out the remainder of the game.
The AFL noted that while the Lions' breach was at the lower end of the scale, in that Conway only played a few minutes in breach of the guidelines, protecting players was paramount.
"The AFL is committed to protecting the health and safety of all players and requires strict compliance with concussion guidelines from our clubs," AFL General Counsel Stephen Meade said.
"Whilst we acknowledge that Brisbane’s breach was not deliberate, and Conway did not in fact suffer a concussion, we set high standards that must be met in the assessment of head trauma to avoid the risk of further injury."
$10,000 of the fine will come out of the club's AFLW soft cap, with the other $10,000 suspended, meaning the club will not have to pay it unless a similar breach occurs in either the club's AFL or AFLW programs.