HomeSport‘You’re not serious’: Ugly bump debate erupts

‘You’re not serious’: Ugly bump debate erupts

Summary

The Suns claimed the 16.11 (107) to 12.8 (80) win in the west, the club’s first win at Optus Stadium but the bump drew plenty of attention.Stream every match of every round of the 2022 Toyota AFL Premiership Season Live & Ad-Break Free In-Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >Rowell, who has been a lightning rod for serious injuries in his first two seasons in the AFL, copped a monster late bump from Rioli in the third quarter.The Suns young gun was running to catch a short kick that went over his head in the third quarter while Rioli bailed out when he knew he wasn’t going to get the ball but jumped and turned his body, flattening Rowell.After the match, Rowell brushed it off, saying: “Fair play, it was a good hit.”He also continued to play on, tallying 33 disposals including 22 contested possessions.But the AFL world erupted over the incident with the general consensus that it at least deserved a free kick.“Simply an extraordinary non-decision,” freelance journalist James Mottershead wrote. AAP’s Oliver Caffrey added: “One of the worst non-free kicks you’ll ever see to Rowell right there. Extraordinary.”AFL Nation’s Adam Cooney wrote: “Not far off being a free to Rowell possibly maybe who knows.”Suns coach Stuart Dew noted the incident and showed Rowell’s teammates as an example of the heart of the young man.“The way he goes about his footy, he’ll do anything for the team,” Dew said.“We showed that clip after the game to say, at times your execution can be off, you can make some mistakes, but in the end, when it is a tight game, it is who has the biggest heart.“We all know how big Rowelly’s heart is when it comes to competing.”But the discussion continued after the match as former North Melbourne legend David King took aim at the decision to play on from the incident pointing to the fact that the AFL needs to do more to protect the head.He pointed to two incidents from the weekend, Rowell’s bump and Lions star Mitch Robinson’s bump on Xavier Duursma.“We’ve got more cases than we’ve ever had, we’ve got more trauma, we’re seeing past players early in life really suffering,” he said on Fox Footy’s First Crack.“I look at this weekend and say, you’re not serious. “The major component of this is the potential to cause serious injury. That (Robinson’s bump on Duursma) is a millimetre away from a snapped spine and we give him one week.“It’s not about if this is your team; don’t worry if you’re a Lions fan and don’t even worry if you’re Mitch Robinson. It’s not about who it is on this occasion, it’s about are we serious about changing this behaviour.”The clash had been contentious as AFL greats Shaun Burgoyne and Cameron Ling questioned the one match ban for Robinson on The Al and Lingy Show podcast.Burgoyne said: “I feel Mitch didn’t really have much of an option, an out.“I think if he didn’t turn his body side-on then we have a potential head clash. That’s what I was thinking. Do we prefer two players clashing heads or – I’m not sure what alternative Mitch had?”Ling said it was a “harsh” but unsurprising call.“We’re going to see this all year. We’re all kidding ourselves if we get up in arms all the time about this because it’s simply going to happen,” he said.“They’re just going to suspend players time and time and time again if there’s any incident like that.”But King continued, saying the AFL need to do more to protect the head.“Then we go to tonight’s game and we see another huge clash with Rioli coming in,” he said. “We love big clashes in our game, we love them, but one player keeps his eye on the ball because he thinks the game will protect him and the other takes his eyes off it, turns, protects himself. He doesn’t protect Matt Rowell.“But I guarantee because Rowell is a strong bull and super tough and because we can’t tell what injury he sustained, and we may not know for a few years if he has in fact sustained head trauma, we just say play on, well done and there’s nothing to answer.“You either change behaviours or you don’t. One week is just not good enough, it’s not. It’s round one and it’s happened again.”Saints great Leigh Montagna said he felt for players dealing with these rules but that he was beginning to understand why they were being put in place.“There’s still the player in me thinking that these incidents happen on a football field where they’re so quick, it’s so hard, but in saying that I’ve been retired long enough and seen enough past players and teammates of mine that are struggling with concussion and struggling in their life afterwards that I’m slowly coming around,” he said.“We need to continue to try and do more and more to protect players heads. If we need to start stamping out those sorts of contests I’m starting to come around for it. But there’s still a part of me as that past player that understands how quick and how split second those incidents are.”King had the final word, adding: “You’ve got to change, you’ve got to get on board. And the AFL have to get on board. It’s a long winded discussion but we’re not serious if that’s what we’re doing in round one.”

Read Different Perspectives

No Related Articles Found