THE AFL has taken the extraordinary step to immediately amend its ruling on dangerous tackles after Shaun Burgoyne was deemed free to play after his tackle on Patrick Dangerfield. 

The Hawthorn veteran will remain available for Thursday's clash with Richmond despite AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan, football boss Steve Hocking and General Counsel Andrew Dillon re-writing part of the Match Review guidelines on Monday.


Burgoyne escaped with a $1000 fine for his tackle where he pinned one arm of the Geelong superstar last Friday night in an incident deemed careless conduct, high contact and low impact by Match Review Officer Michael Christian. 

The Tribunal guideline section 4.3 (E) relating to rough conduct (dangerous tackles) will change from "arms" to "arm" being pinned. 

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"The Player being tackled is in a vulnerable position (i.e. arm(s) pinned) with little opportunity to protect himself," the classification states. 

Section 4.2 (B) that centres on the 'potential to cause injury' has also been amended. 

"'Any dangerous tackle' to replace references to 'spear tackle' and 'driving an opponent into the ground when his arms are pinned'." 

McLachlan said the urgent action was taken on Monday.  

"After reviewing the decision and the current adjudicating framework in place, the Match Review Officer's findings were appropriate, however, it has become obvious that the framework in which the MRO works relating to dangerous tackles requires strengthening," McLachlan said. 

"We want to be clear; protection of the head is our highest priority and we want all players at all levels and age groups to better understand that these tackles shouldn't be part of our game. 

"Dangerous tackles have the potential to cause head injuries, and it is essential that this is taken into account when assessing an incident under the AFL Tribunal guidelines."

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Should the Burgoyne incident happen again this weekend, it would likely see the MRO take a different stance in assessing the impact in relation to the potential to cause injury.