SYDNEY Swans and Hawthorn players should strike if Demon Jack Viney’s two-game suspension is not overturned at Thursday night’s appeal hearing, Adelaide legend Mark Ricciuto says.
Ricciuto said players should sit down for the first bounce of Friday night’s Swans-Hawthorn clash at ANZ Stadium to ensure the AFL understood how seriously Viney's suspension had upset the football world.
Viney was suspended for two games for a head-high bump on Adelaide's Tom Lynch that left the Crows forward nursing a broken jaw.
The Demons will appeal the suspension on Thursday evening.
"The [AFL] Players' Association needs to stick up for the players and I hope they've got the balls to do it because there are a lot of past players who are extremely disillusioned about it [and] there are a lot of supporters who are disillusioned about it," Ricciuto told Triple M radio in Adelaide.
"This ruling on Jack Viney needs to be overturned … and the actual rule itself needs to be re-written so that they're not getting suspended and I reckon they've got until the end of the week to do it.
"If they don't do it, [the players] should strike on Friday night.
"Sydney and Hawthorn will sit on their bum at the first bounce and strike."
Ricciuto spoke passionately about the recent suspensions to Nathan Fyfe, Viney and Adelaide midfielder Richard Douglas, describing them as a "disgrace".
He said the suspensions would lead to players shirking contests in fear of punishment from the Match Review Panel.
"I don't think I'm out of line, I've seen so many people talk about it overnight, talking about this for weeks and it takes until a decision like this occurs before something's got to change – it has to change," he said.
"Our game is a contact sport, accidents happen, we don't want elbows, we don't want king hits, we don't want general thuggery – what we want is fair players attacking the ball as hard as they can … we don't want blokes having to pull out of contests for fear of getting suspended.
"It's a disgrace and it needs to change."
AFLPA president Luke Ball said the latest suspension for a bump had only confused players.
While declaring the organisation was in favour of rules that protected players from serious head injuries, he said the Viney ruling had only muddied the waters of what was now acceptable when bumping.
“We did support any rule that would protect players from getting knocks to the head or concussion … we certainly support the rule or any alterations that protect players from serious head injuries," Ball said.
"But I think what [the Viney] case has done is brought a bit of new confusion from a player's perspective in the sense that are you allowed to brace to protect yourself from contact, which it appears that's really what Jack Viney was doing.
"We just want common sense to prevail … hopefully what happens [on Thursday night] will clear up a lot of that confusion."