THE AFL will consider implementing rule changes at the end of the season following the landmark Tribunal case involving Adelaide veteran David Mackay.
The Crows midfielder was cleared of any wrongdoing on Thursday night despite the AFL's legal counsel recommending a minimum three-game suspension.
His collision with Hunter Clark resulted in the St Kilda youngster suffering a broken jaw, with the AFL deeming Mackay engaged in rough conduct that was unreasonable in the circumstances.
AFL football boss Steve Hocking said he respected the Tribunal's decision but stood by the original grading of the incident.
If a similar situation were to happen this weekend, or for the rest of the season, the AFL would likely again send the case to the Tribunal.
"We never asserted that David Mackay set out to hurt Hunter Clark but we did consider that he acted carelessly and unreasonably in the circumstances," Hocking said.
"The AFL will not hesitate to take action where the health and safety of players is impacted or at risk.
"There is an ongoing process in review of the rules to protect the health and safety of all players.
"The outcome of the Tribunal will be considered in that review. If necessary, rules will be adjusted at the end of the season.
"We make no apologies for taking action to make the game safer for participants at all levels."
Hocking said it was "line-ball" when referring Mackay's controversial case - which angered many high-profile football figures - to the Tribunal.
"(Match Review Officer) Michael Christian and myself worked through it and took a considerable amount of time," he said.
"It got to a point with my executive powers I was able to refer it and the reason for that was it was a line-ball decision."