Geelong coach Chris Scott believes AFL players are being asked to do the impossible in “confusing” tribunal instructions around dangerous tackles.
But the two-time premiership coach says players have “no choice but to get with the program” as the league continues its crackdown with a view to protecting players against concussion.
Another four players were charged with rough conduct for dangerous tackles on opponents in round 11, after 16 were suspended over similar incidents across the opening 10 rounds.
Sydney co-captain Luke Parker, Carlton’s Adam Cerra and Fremantle’s Jaeger O’Meara will all challenge their one-match suspensions at the tribunal this week.
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“The AFL, by their own admission, are trying to work their way through this,” Scott told Fox Footy.
“I think they understand that they’re going to iterate around these incidents and get it to a point where there is more clarity.”
Scott likened the crackdown on dangerous tackles to the AFL’s efforts to stamp out high contact in bumps
He said coaches’ instructions to players are simple: they must be careful if take a player to ground
But Scott doesn’t see the directive from the AFL as clearly.
“The instruction from the tribunal, to be frank, is very confusing,” he said.
“They’re trying to say, ‘if you tackle a player in a split second and you realise that you have an arm pinned, you’ve got to let it go before he hits the ground irrespective of whose momentum’s taking the player forward’.
“Players can’t do that.”
Scott was adamant Geelong forward Brad Close could not have done anything differently when he was suspended over a dangerous tackle on Adelaide’s Jordan Dawson early this month.
“The tribunal and the AFL have spoken and said you are liable for that, so you’ve got no choice but to get with the program,” Scott said.
“And there’s no point people that played footy in the good old days saying it’s damaging the fabric of the game.
“The priority is looking after the head, so you’ve got to move with the program.
“I suspect when we get to the end of all this, people will look at those tackles and say, ‘yeah, of course he’s got to go’.”
Scott says some players will be “very unlucky” as they adjust to the crackdown.
“There are those situations where you tackle a player who’s on one leg trying to kick the ball and he’s completely vulnerable and it doesn’t take much force to take him down.
“We’re going to see some missed tackles and we’re going to see players adjusting. If that’s the way it’s got to be, then it’s probably fine.”
Zorko banned over Pedlar eye contact
Brisbane Lions veteran Dayne Zorko is facing a one-match AFL suspension for making contact near Adelaide forward Luke Pedlar’s eye.
Crows midfielder Rory Laird has also been offered a one-match ban, charged with rough conduct over a dangerous tackle on Lions star Lachie Neale. The separate incidents occurred during Adelaide’s 17-point win over Brisbane on Sunday.
Zorko’s hand went over Pedlar’s face as the pair tangled during the first quarter.
He was charged with “contact to the eye region”, with the league’s match review officer grading the action as intentional conduct, low impact and high contact.
Lions teammate Jarrod Berry had a one-match suspension over a similar incident with Melbourne’s Clayton Oliver during last year’s finals series overturned at the tribunal.
Laird’s rough conduct charge comes amid a crackdown on dangerous tackles this season with a view to protecting players against head knocks and concussion.
His tackle on Neale was graded as careless conduct, medium impact and high contact.
Adam Cerra’s looming ban puts him in doubt for under-fire Carlton’s crucial match against the Demons on Friday night.
It could add to the Blues’ woes, with Patrick Cripps (ankle) facing a fitness test and George Hewett (concussion), Nic Newman (hamstring) and Ollie Hollands (shoulder) set to miss the MCG contest.
Hawthorn captain James Sicily has accepted his one-match suspension for a high bump on St Kilda’s Anthony Caminiti and will miss Saturday’s game against Port Adelaide.
Sicily’s suspension took the shine off his dominant performance against the Saints, in which he tallied a career-best 43 disposals and 22 intercept possessions.
Richmond star Dustin Martin can accept a $2000 fine for striking Port Adelaide’s Dan Houston during the Tigers’ loss on Sunday.
Treloar to return for Dogs’ battle with Cats
Adam Treloar is set to return for the Western Bulldogs’ crunch clash with Geelong, while Fremantle ruckman Sean Darcy has been sidelined by a hamstring strain.
Dogs midfielder Treloar has missed the past three weeks with a similar issue and must pass a fitness test before taking on the Cats at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night.
Signs are good for the 30-year-old, who averaged 29 disposals and six clearances over the opening seven rounds of the season.
“Adam’s recovery from his hamstring injury has gone exactly to plan,” Bulldogs head of sports medicine Chris Bell said.
“We have graduated his speed and training demands over the last few sessions, with him completing a game like training session on Saturday.
“He still has one or two boxes to tick before we can confirm his availability, but at this stage he is on track to return to play this weekend.”
Darcy sustained his hamstring injury during the second quarter Fremantle’s upset win over Melbourne on Saturday and was substituted out of the match.
The Dockers have their mid-season bye this week before hosting Richmond at Optus Stadium in round 13.
“Darcy returned to Perth for scans following the game, which have shown a moderate grade hamstring strain,” the club said in a statement.
“The players will officially return on Thursday following a four-day break, however, Darcy has already commenced his reconditioning at the club.
“A time frame for Darcy’s return will be finalised as he progresses through his reconditioning.”
Melbourne superstar Clayton Oliver is set to resume training with his teammates this week on return from a “minor hamstring strain” but is unlikely to play against Carlton on Friday night.
GWS forward Harry Himmelberg is set to return from concussion in Sunday’s clash with Richmond, but teammate Nick Haynes faces another week out after a setback caused by an infected cut.