The AFL’s controversial judicial system has been one of the hot topics in Melbourne as club chief executives have been briefed over potential changes.
It’s the black eye the AFL doesn’t need on its night of nights.
The scenario of Fremantle’s Nat Fyfe polling the most votes in September’s Brownlow Medal count, after being ruled ineligible over a head clash that many would consider an incident not worthy of a ban, would be giving AFL officials sleepless nights.
“There’s a lot of scenarios for the Brownlow. I just hope I get most of the names right and there’s a worthy winner,” league chief Gillon McLachlan told reporters on Thursday.
AFL football operations boss Mark Evans has briefed club chief executives over potential changes to the league’s match review panel (MRP).
Club bosses met in Melbourne on Thursday, when Evans outlined the prospect of fines replacing suspensions for lower-level offences.
The prospect of carry-over points being reformed was also raised.
“It was well received,” McLachlan said. “Things can always be improved.
“Our position is we don’t believe people should be missing weeks for trivial offences.
“And if that is happening now, as part of Mark’s review, than that would have a flow-on effect to the Brownlow.”
McLachlan said it was almost certain Evans would put a series of proposed MRP amendments to the AFL Commission for consideration.
McLachlan’s comments came on the same day Brisbane coach Justin Leppitsch called for the tribunal system to be overhauled.
“To a man, most people think the consistency is not there and only because it’s based around points and less common sense,” Leppitsch said in Brisbane.
Leppitsch admitted the Lions were extremely fortunate not to have Daniel Merrett rubbed out for a late shot which broke the nose of Melbourne’s Cam Pedersen.
Merrett was reported for his clumsy spoil, where his left forearm struck Pedersen well after the Demon marked the ball.
The MRP spared the burly key-position Lion, saying he had eyes for the ball and caught Pedersen in a legitimate spoiling attempt.
“I probably expected him to miss maybe one, maybe two from what I saw,” Leppitsch laughed.
McLachlan defended the Merrett decision, saying he was not cited because he was deemed to have punched the ball first.
“Those sort of nuances and specific definitions are difficult for everyone to understand, coaches or whoever they are,” McLachlan said.
Merrett’s controversial escape came when the MRP charged Geelong star Steve Johnson with kneeing Scott Thompson in the ribs before the Cats successfully contested, with the three-man tribunal finding insufficient force.
There’s also been a furore surrounding the two-week suspension of Richmond’s Reece Conca.
Conca lashed out at Giants youngster Devon Smith as he was heading for the interchange bench while Fyfe, scratched from Brownlow Medal contention, suffered the same punishment for accidental high contact on the Suns’ Michael Rischitelli.