THE MATCH Review Panel should have penalised Jay Schulz's sling tackle on Ted Richards in the same way it did Bryce Gibbs' tackle on Robbie Gray, AFL football operations manager Mark Evans says.
Evans met with MRP members on Monday to discuss the guidelines relating to rough tackles, when he instructed them that when (a) a player's arms were pinned in a tackle and (b) he was taken to ground with force they had to be "far more protective" of the player's head.
Evans told reporters on Monday evening the MRP decision to clear Schulz's tackle had erroneously focused on the differences between it and Gibbs' round 12 tackle that attracted a two-week penalty for rough conduct.
Upon releasing its verdict, the MRP said of Schulz's round 14 tackle: "The tackle was undertaken in one continuous motion, with no secondary action."
On Monday, Evans conceded it was a wrong decision.
"It's caused us a deal of concern on reflection over the last week. While last week I accepted the MRP's determination on some of the differences particularly between the Gibbs tackle and the Schulz tackle, I don't think we've processed that one correctly," Evans said.
"What we should have focused on was the fact that Ted Richards' arms were pinned, he was in a very vulnerable position and he was taken to ground with some force.
"We think that on reflection he should have been charged with rough conduct very similar to the way that Gibbs was charged.
"I've instructed the MRP today that we should have taken greater consideration to where a player's arms have been pinned and he's been rotated towards the ground the way that [Schulz] was … we need to be far more protective of players' heads."
Ted Richards is being taken from the ground on the stretcher after a tackle http://t.co/diVlKEKVka— AFL (@AFL) July 2, 2015
Evans defended the MRP's decision on Monday to clear Melbourne's Jeremy Howe of a tackle that left Essendon's Alex Browne concussed, saying the Bomber's arms had not been pinned at the time.
Evans said for Howe's tackle to attract a suspension, strict liability would have to be introduced for rough tackles.
"The current guidelines are a test of what's reasonable by three people on an MRP or at a Tribunal," Evans said.
"Some people have suggested we should move to strict liability (but) that requires far greater discussion.
"I've had some contact with some coaches and some GMs of football and that will require looking at a lot of vision to make sure if we were to move to that (what) the benefits of that and the disadvantages would be."
Evans said the existing guidelines on rough tackles would now be reviewed but no changes were likely before next season.
The AFL footy boss emailed all 18 clubs on Monday afternoon asking for their feedback.
"It deserves to be appropriately discussed. If it needs changing, we will change it," he said.
Alex Browne has been taken of under the concussion sub after this tackle. Jack Watts hurt his ankle moments later. http://t.co/dA7OLQJjc0— AFL (@AFL) July 11, 2015