Jack Trengove was rightly suspended by the AFL tribunal last night.
It is, perhaps, the length of his suspension that may have been slightly harsh.
Trengove received a three-match ban for this tackle on Adelaide Crows midfielder, Patrick Dangerfield.
Dangerfield, still yet to clock up 50 games, was concussed after the tackle to the point where the club Doctor ruled him ineligible to take part in the remainder of the match.
Melbourne won the game by 96 points.
There is no suggestion that Dangerfield’s presence in the match would have minimised that margin, for it is apparent that the Adelaide Crows lack intestinal fortitude away from Football Park.
Clearly, having spoken to some colleagues in the media, I’m in the minority on this, but I believe that the Match Review Panel’s call and the Tribunal’s decision to uphold the original call was the right one.
If anything, the length of the ban is somewhat surprisingly long, but what else the league could do to make it clearer to players and spectators as to what constitutes a dangerous tackle and what doesn’t is beyond me.
Dangerfield’s arm is pulled behind his body, is locked against Trengove and he is slung, head first into the deck with absolutely no way of protecting his head.
As I said earlier, Dangerfield took no further part in the game as a direct result of the tackle.
Today, the hue and cry over Trengove’s three-match ban has some journalists predictably, in a number of cases, bemoaning the lack of toughness and the rise of PC’ism in the AFL . The Herald Sun even starting a Facebook campaign to protest the Tribunal and Match Review Panel’s decision.
Hacks and fans arguing that the game has gone soft often use the NRL as some kind of toughness barometer. How would this incident have played out in league?
We’ll never really know, given that we’re dealing in hypotheticals, but having run footage of the tackle by a number of NRL fans and journos, the unanimous consensus was that Trengove’s tackle would be on report and that he’d be watching this week, if not reprimanded.
The tackle is centimeters away from an almost perfect chicken-wing tackle, for which the Melbourne Storm incurred the wrath of opposition players and spectators only 12 to 18 months ago (I know!!! Like the Melbourne Storm need to work hard to rile their Northern cousins?).
Tough as a cat’s skull and PC-free indeed…
Melbourne supporters are justified in being frustrated. Their season, apart from Sunday’s big win has spitted and spluttered. Dean Bailey has been under the pump, Tom Scully is no closer to a return to senior football, Jack Grimes won’t play again this season and attendances at Melbourne home games have been dispiritingly low.
But to call the Match Review Panel a joke and to refer to AFL as being soft is misguided and disingenuous. Trengove’s tackle was dangerous, Patrick Dangerfield had no way of protecting himself as he was slung to the ground, was concussed and took no further part in the game.
A three-week ban may be harsh, but if you’re confused as to what constitutes a dangerous tackle and what doesn’t, ask yourself this; if the exact same tackle was laid by Campbell Brown, Steven Baker or Barry Hall on Trengove, I doubt the Melbourne players or supporters would be as disillusioned in the Match Review Panel or Tribunal as we are to believe they are.