Collingwood’s Brayden Maynard has been sent directly through to the tribunal with his finals series now hanging in the balance.
AFL: Melbourne’s Angus Brayshaw was left unconscious and had to be stretchered from the MCG after a flying collision with Collingwood’s Brayden Maynard. Teammate Jack Viney got stuck into Maynard, resulting in a shredded jumper.
Maynard was cited for his hit that left Demon Angus Brayshaw concussed in the opening term of Thursday’s qualifying final, with many AFL experts arguing the attempted smother was a genuine “footy act”.
But on Friday, it was confirmed Kane and Michael Christian, the Match Review Officer, jointly laid the rough conduct charge on Maynard which is set to see him banned for at least three weeks – with his 2023 season now over unless the Magpies opt to appeal.
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“The devil is in the detail – Michael Christian and the AFL’s executive general manager Laura Kane jointly charged Brayden Maynard, it is unprecedented,” Fox Footy’s Jon Ralph said.
“We have seen of course Steve Hocking send the David Mackay-Hunter Clark case to the tribunal ungraded; we have never seen Laura Kane or an executive general manager step in like this.
“And so the inescapable conclusion here is Michael Christian was not keen to upheld this charge and felt there was no case to answer.
“And Laura Kane, 11 days into her tenure as the AFL’s new football boss, has acted for the interests of the AFL, of course, with all the legal implications there.
“Collingwood will defend this one to the ends to the earth, this one will go deep into next week if that’s what it takes for Collingwood to clear Brayden Maynard’s name.”
AFL greats were left divided over the decision to send Maynard to the Tribunal for what four-time premiership Hawk Jordan Lewis labelled a “genuine football action”.
Collingwood great Nathan Buckley said he supported the case going to the Tribunal but described it as a “landmark case” for the AFL.
“I think this absolutely has to go to the Tribunal – the AFL has sort of created this grey area because some head knocks have been OK and some haven’t,” he explained.
“This is probably a landmark case because that clearly was a football action.
“What they come down with will inform the direction that they want to head on going forward.
“Is it deliberate though? No it’s not.”
Three-time premiership Lion Jonathan Brown agreed Maynard’s actions could be considered “reckless”, but argued his attempted smother was within the legal boundaries of the game.
“I think on the balance he probably gets off at the Tribunal,” he said on Fox Footy.
“The smothering by the actual nature itself is a reckless action … where you are putting yourself in harm’s way and potentially the person you are trying to smother in harm’s way as well.
“But it is a legal action. You’re allowed to make an attempt to smother no matter where you jump from, you keep your feet on the ground or not.”
Fox Footy’s Garry Lyon fears the Maynard case will create a precedence going forward, allowing opponents to cannon into players under the guise of a smother.
“You open yourself up for that action in every other game when you say it’s a footy action,” he argued.
“I’m not surprise this goes (to the Tribunal) – put it up before the Tribunal and let them all go and present their cases.
“If it’s a footy action – is that what we want in footy? Are we going to be accepting of that?
“When you jump off the ground you take away any control.
“If it comes out and they say this is an acceptable footy action, then we need to have to accept that now can happen in any game.
“You can run and jump to spoil, and take someone out and knock ‘em out.”