• The Viney verdict: the footy world has its say
MELBOURNE midfielder Jack Viney will be sidelined for two matches after the Tribunal found him guilty of rough conduct in what was described as a landmark hearing on Tuesday night.
In a controversial case that saw Adelaide forward Tom Lynch suffer a broken jaw, Viney was found to have bumped in a three-way collision when he had other options.
The charge was referred directly to the Tribunal by the Match Review Panel so it could be examined thoroughly and the Demons hard nut could give his account.
The jury of Wayne Henwood, Wayne Schimmelbusch and Emmett Dunne took 19 minutes to reach their guilty verdict before classifying the incident as negligent conduct, high contact and medium impact.
They hit Viney with a compromised total of 200 demerit points and a two-match ban, which included a discount because he could not submit an early plea of guilty. Melbourne will consider its appeal options on Tuesday night.
The incident occurred in Saturday's clash at Adelaide Oval, with Lynch and Viney moving towards a contested ball from opposite directions and the Crows goalkicker winning possession.
Viney, who was marginally beaten to the ball, made contact to Lynch's neck in a collision that he said could not be avoided, given the speed at which he was travelling.
The Demons midfielder said: "I felt like I had a reasonable opportunity to win the football (and) there was a point in time where the ball could have bounced my way."
Once the ball bounced towards Lynch, and Viney could no longer win possession, he said he turned to brace himself and had no way of avoiding contact.
"Not at any stage was I trying to bump - I was purely trying to brace myself for impact," he told the Tribunal.
"It happened in a very short space of time. There was about half a second where the ball could have bounced either way."
Disappointing outcome tonight but I really appreciate everyone's support! Many kind messages. Don't stress Dees fans, I won't change!
— Jack Viney (@jackviney7) May 6, 2014
AFL legal counsel Jeff Gleeson proposed Viney could have "spun out" of the impending collision, rather than bracing for contact.
Viney said there "was not a lot of time to think about complex manoeuvres like spinning".
Lynch was involved in a head clash with opponent Alex Georgiou, who was trailing the Adelaide forward. Georgiou also left the ground with concussion.
The verdict sparked outrage from past and present players who took to Twitter and the airways to vent their frustrations.
Hawthorn champion Dermott Brereton said it would be a "landmark decision" if Viney was found guilty, with the AFL effectively ruling "we don't want any injuries, regardless of the scenario".
He also told radio station SEN that he would not attend official Hall of Fame events in protest of the guilty verdict.
"As a bit of a protest against this … I'm in the Hall of Fame and I love going to those functions - for a start, I'm not going to turn up. They can get stuffed this year. I'm not going to do anything for them. I'm not turning up to their functions. This is just fundamentally wrong."
The Viney incident frame by frame: Hover your mouse to pause and scroll forwards or backwards
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley told AFL 360: "I don't think there was any intent for high contact. In fact, he was braced low. He was as low as he could have gone, really. I don't know what other alternative he had.
"This game of footy is something we all love and that's probably why we're seeing the uproar that we are. It's very soon after the incident and it's still fairly raw.
"One of the elements of the charter of the game was to maintain the unique elements of the code. There's been alarmists saying the AFL is trying to take the bump out of the game and, until tonight, I might have thought they weren't warranted."
Bulldogs veteran Robert Murphy said it was a "tough, tough call on a good young player" and the decision had clouded his understanding of a fair bump.
"He can't do what I've heard has been suggested. He can't pirouette out of the situation because he'd find himself out of the team," Murphy also said on AFL 360.
"Players, clubs - if that's what you get for putting yourself in the situation, we'll probably cop the suspension because you can't coach the opposite. You can't train the alternative in jumping out of the way. Really, I think he acted responsibly in the incident."
Can't bump? Kids can't tackle. Kids can't play to win. Might as well go and play a violin because there is no contact #thisisajoke
— Tex Walker (@texwalker13) May 6, 2014
When is the Tom Lynch head butting case on Alex Georgiou case being heard???
— JR8 (@JackRiewoldt08) May 6, 2014
When will the AFL realise that the fans and players want the game to remain the physical one it always has been. Ban thugs not fair players
— Mark Ricciuto (@markricciuto) May 6, 2014
Deplorable state of affairs! How has #Viney been found guilty??
— Jude Bolton (@Jude_Bolton) May 6, 2014
— Allen Christensen (@achristensen_28) May 6, 2014
Step sideways and avoid contact.. PLEASE.. #viney
— Brad Green (@bradgreen18) May 6, 2014