REIGNING Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale says he was trying to invoke the blood rule when he tapped an umpire on the arm during Brisbane's win over Carlton on Saturday night.
Neale could be cited for making contact with umpire Matthew Nicholls after having his eyebrow split open in the second quarter.
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"I felt the blood and I thought he was about to throw it (the ball) up - I didn't even realise that I did that so there you go," Neale told Fox Footy post-match.
"But I was just trying to get his attention to get off the ground."
Before copping the head injury, Neale went down holding his ankle late in the first quarter after getting it caught underneath his body, and looked proppy but ran out the game.
Coach Chris Fagan lauded Brisbane's resilience after they pushed through a plethora of injury concerns to beat a gritty Carlton by 18 points in their AFL clash at Marvel Stadium.
"It was a really brave effort by our boys because there's no doubt Carlton came to play today," Fagan said.
"They'd been put under the heat all week - for whatever reason I'm not sure of because I think they're going quite well in terms of their development.
"It's not their fault that the club's struggled for the last 20 years. I don't think, it's sort of where they're at.
"They're a pretty good footy side and had a real crack today and we had to play right to the end to win it.
"I was really proud of our players and the way that they went about it and the way they stood up under pressure."
Brisbane nudged the three-quarter time margin out to 25 points, then kept Carlton at arm's length, leaving coach David Teague to lament the Blues' failure to connect going forward, erratic conversion and poor defending of Brisbane's inside-50s.
"If we want to compete against these good teams, we've got to be better at those and until we do that we're going to find it hard," he said.
"Now the frustrating thing for our fans (is) we're in these games, we're showing glimpses of it but you need to do it for 120 minutes and that's our challenge as a footy club."
Fagan said he thought AFL games were too long and he'd like to see the length of quarters reduced after the Lions played out a 136-minute marathon against Carlton.
Last year's fixture resulted in the league cutting quarter lengths to 16 minutes plus time-on, but quarters have reverted to the normal 20 minutes plus time-on in 2021.
After Saturday game, where score reviews, blood rule stoppages and goals saw two of the four quarters go beyond 36 minutes, Fagan said he'd like to see a new middle-ground quarter length of 18 minutes plus time-on, citing the potential for injuries with longer games.
"Gee, it was 136 minutes tonight. I think we have to have a look at it," Fagan said
"It is way too long - it wears the players out. I don't know the stats but the injury lists at clubs at the moment look big and long and we're only into round six.
"I'm sure the AFL are aware of it but I think the game needs to be shorter than 136 minutes and I think there was one quarter of 36 minutes tonight and another of 37 - so it's a long time.
"I don't know what the breakdown of it was but the game feels long at the moment.
"I know it felt short last year because we took it back to 16 minutes plus time-on.
"I reckon the right answer's somewhere in between - maybe 18 and time-on."
Carlton counterpart David Teague said he preferred the traditional, longer quarter lengths.
"When it went to 16-minute quarters I didn't like it - I thought it was very quick," he said.
"But in terms of injuries, I felt like a lot of the injuries today were impact injuries.
"I'm not sure if there was too many muscle injuries, which is probably more fatigue or stress injuries - mind you, when you're a bit fatigued, maybe you get hit, you're not quite as sharp
"I like the 120 minutes. I probably go back to my playing days and I just wanted to play.
"I enjoyed training but I just wanted to play and compete and I'd love to play for as long as I could. I still wish I could play.
"So I like the game being longer and testing you out over time and I think the defences open up through fatigue and I think that's great for the fans to see that."