For the third time this year, Toby Greene has found himself on report (albeit in controversial circumstances) but my bile comes not because of the AFL’s new favourite ‘bad boy’ but from the miscommunication around his fluro boot’s actions…
Controversial GWS forward Toby Greene was reported for a third time this season during GWS’ third quarter romp of the Western Bulldogs last night.
Greene’s right boot’s seven cleats caught Luke Dahlhaus flush in the face, as the livewire forward jumped to try and claim a ‘hospital handball’ from his teammate.
The ‘fly-kick’ sent Dahlhaus from the ground with blood streaming from his nose.
While the act of ‘studding’ someone in the face looks horrible, whether or not it was malicious or intentional is something that will be argued at the tribunal hearing early next week.
My umbrage however, comes from this Channel 7 commentary:
Brain Taylor: “I reckon he’s allowed to do that in his attempt to mark the footy.”
Wayne Carey: “Unfortunately in our game, you’re allowed to jump…”
Brain Taylor: “He’s used his foot to clear space.”
(and continuing on from the rest of the coverage…)
Wayne Carey: “He didn’t deliberately put his foot in Dahlhaus’ face. You’re allowed to put your foot up to protect yourself.”
Now… first thing first. Below is the rule in regards to contact that can be legitimately made on the field.
(Omissions have made for relevance to this scenario but the full rules can be found here: http://www.aflcommunityclub.com.au/fileadmin/user_upload/Coach_AFL/2017_Laws_of_Australian_Football.pdf)
RULE 15.4 FREE KICK: PERMITTED AND PROHIBITED PHYSICAL CONTACT
15.4.5 Prohibited Contact and Payment of Free Kick — A field Umpire shall award a Free Kick against a Player where they are satisfied that the Player has made Prohibited Contact with an opposition Player.
A Player makes Prohibited Contact with an opposition Player if the Player: a) makes contact or attempts to make contact with any part of their body with an opposition Player in a manner likely to cause injury; (i) above the shoulders (including the top of the shoulders); or (ii) below the knees.
h) kicks or attempts to kick an opposition Player, unless contact is accidentally made whilst the Player is Kicking the football.
(k) engages in rough conduct against an opposition Player which in the circumstances is unreasonable.
So in rebuttal to Wayne Carey’s comments it is written in the rules that you are explicitly not allowed to make contact above the shoulders or use you feet (the action of kicking) to ‘protect’ yourself.
Secondly, Brian Taylor’s comments are also flawed as the situational aspect of this incidence could be important as outlined by another section of Rule 15.4 (again omissions made for relevance.)
15.4.3 Permitted Contact — Other than the Prohibited Contact identified under Law 15.4.5, a Player may make contact with another Player:
(a) by using their hip, shoulder, chest, arms or open hands provided that the football is no more than 5 metres away from the Player.
(e) if such contact is incidental to a Marking contest and the Player is legitimately Marking or attempting to Mark the football.
Greene’s “ku-fung-kick” (for dramatic effect) was during his attempt to collect a handball, not a mark and as such any leeway given in Rule 15.4.3(e) is null and void. (However, the use of one’s legs or feet isn’t permitted by the rule anyway.)
The leeway given in Rule 15.4.3(e), also allows the “speccy” to live on and as such the “next we’ll have to ban Jeremy Howe for taking hangers” argument that has propagated so rapidly on social media is also null and void. The speccy will live on! The ‘fly kick’… not so much.
Does Toby Greene deserve to get reported? Maybe, maybe not — that will come down to the severity of the incident, (Dahlhaus was forced from the field) Greene’s ever lengthening ‘rap-sheet’ and the mystic value of player testimonies in Tribunal cases.
Was it a free kick? Absolutely, by the letter of the law. And this is where my beef is with the Channel 7 commentary team.
Commentators are not only meant to entertain their audiences but educate them as well, and a thorough knowledge of the rules is paramount to their ability to educate.
Throughout their call on Friday night, the Channel 7 commentary showed their lack of preparation, (in not knowing the rules) their lack of ability to adapt or react (in not researching or sourcing a definitive answer quickly) and showed a lack of attention to detail when Brian Taylor called Greene’s attempt as a mark and not as a handball receive, which it clearly was.
Channel 7 are the key broadcaster of the game and they are in many respects the people’s gateway to the game. This miscommunication is just one example of how they don’t take their job seriously enough…