Aliir Aliir leaves the field during Port Adelaide's loss to Adelaide in round 20, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

THE AFL has handed Port Adelaide a $100,000 fine for breaching the League's concussion management guidelines after a head clash between Power players Aliir Aliir and Lachie Jones. 

Jones was subbed out with a migraine after the incident during the Showdown clash with Adelaide but Aliir was cleared to return to the field without undergoing a SCAT5 concussion test. 

Port Adelaide stood by the management of both players immediately after the game but both Jones and Aliir were placed in concussion protocols on Monday, with the club accepting it had made an error of judgement on match day. 

$50,000 of the fine will be included in Port Adelaide's football department soft cap, with the remainder to sit outside the cap unless the club commits a similar breach of concussion protocols before the end of the AFL and AFLW seasons in 2024. 


Ahead of Port Adelaide's game against Geelong on Saturday night, the League's chief medical officer, Dr Michael Makdissi, will review the Aliir-Jones incident with the Power's medical team. 

The AFL will also conduct its own further review of the incident to identify any lessons for Port Adelaide and the wider industry, to contribute to the broader annual review of the League's Concussion Management Guidelines.   

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan told reporters on Friday afternoon that the League hadn't considered docking premiership points or draft picks as part of the penalty. 

"It's obviously a large sanction but Port Adelaide's ownership of the mistake from the start and their contrition and the way they worked proactively with our Integrity department meant that I don't think that was ever contemplated," McLachlan said. 

McLachlan said the size of the fine would act as a deterrent and a reminder for all clubs to take seriously their obligations under the AFL's concussion protocols. 

He said the incident would be looked at as part of the League's annual review of concussion management, but he didn't believe that the club doctor's ability to make an objective decision was an issue in this instance. 

"When everyone's comfortable it's a mistake, I don't think it goes to independence; it goes to a poor decision," McLachlan said.

"At the moment, the focus is on systems and processes and what was going on on match day in what is - with two people coming off at once - obviously a pressure situation, how we can make sure the right decision is made every time." 

Aliir Aliir and Lachie Jones feel worse for wear during the R20 match between Port Adelaide and Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on July 29, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Port Adelaide football boss Chris Davies said the club accepted the AFL's fine and expressed remorse for its breach of the guidelines. 

"Our club understands the health and safety of players at all levels of the game is the key priority and we understand concussion and the protection of the brain health of all those playing our game is paramount," Davies said.

"As we said publicly earlier in the week, we accept we made a significant mistake in not following the concussion guidelines appropriately. Our club doctor owned the mistake and publicly acknowledged his error.

"We accept the penalty handed down by the AFL and now look forward to cooperating with AFL chief medical officer Michael Makdissi to review the weekend's incident to ensure all our club medical officers are fully cognisant of the AFL's expectations regarding the concussion guidelines."

Aliir Aliir is seen on the bench after colliding with Lachie Jones during the R20 match between Port Adelaide and Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on July 29, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

AFL general counsel Stephen Meade said the club had taken full responsibility for the error, and thanked the club for its co-operation with the League's investigation. 

“The AFL Concussion Protocols are some of the most stringent that exist in world sport, however they require strict and consistent adherence to protect the health and safety of our players,” Meade said.

“In this instance Port Adelaide admitted that Aliir should have undergone SCAT5 testing at the time immediately following the collision on Saturday night. By not undertaking the test, and Aliir returning to the game without being subject to that further detailed assessment, Allir’s wellbeing was potentially at increased risk.

“The health and safety of all players is paramount, and this will continue to be the focus for our clubs and for the AFL.

“AFL Club doctors are some of the most accomplished sports medicine professionals in the world, they have intimate knowledge of their players, and while in this instance there was an error in the club’s process, it shouldn’t undermine the work our club doctors undertake, and the care shown to everyone at their football clubs."

Under the AFL's concussion management guidelines, any player who is suspected to have suffered a head injury is immediately removed from play and undergoes a head injury assessment (HIA). 

Depending on the findings from the HIA, the player will be further assessed by a SCAT5 concussion test. Any player who undergoes a SCAT5 test cannot return to the field for at least 15 minutes. 

If a player is diagnosed with a concussion, they are entered into the AFL's concussion protocols that involves a mandatory 11-step, 12-day minimum process before they can return to play.