Brayden Maynard has been referred straight to the AFL Tribunal and is facing a lengthy ban despite playing down his collision with Angus Brayshaw as a “footy act”. Maynard’s shoulder collected Brayshaw in the head after a nasty incident in the first quarter of Collingwood’s win over Melbourne in their AFL qualifying final clash on Thursday night.
Maynard jumped in the air in an attempt to smother Brayshaw’s kick, before bracing himself for the contact that ensued. Maynard tucked his shoulder in and thundered into Brayshaw, who was left unconscious on the MCG turf as a result.
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Maynard was put on report and sent straight to the AFL Tribunal on Friday night. AFL match review officer Michael Christian graded the act as careless conduct, severe impact and high contact, meaning Maynard is facing a ban of at least three matches.
Opinion amongst AFL fans and commentators was heavily divided in the immediate aftermath, but according to Maynard it was just an accident. “I don’t want to say too much, but it’s a footy act,” Maynard told the Seven Network. “I came forward, I jumped to smother the ball and yeah, unfortunately I just got him on the way down.
“So I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see what happens. But it’s all love. I absolutely love that guy to bits. So yeah, it’s shattering what happened.”
Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin confirmed Brayshaw won’t be able to play next week against the winner of Carlton’s elimination final against Sydney. Brayshaw will be out of action for the next 12 days under concussion protocols.
“I guess that’ll be sorted out during the week, but we’ve got a pretty shattered player (Brayshaw) in there,” Goodwin said about Maynard potentially receiving a suspension. “Look, you can only go by the facts – he jumped off the ground and knocked a guy out. So I guess time will tell.”
Apart from a concussion, Goodwin said Brayshaw was in good spirits and only had a “shiner”. Collingwood coach Craig McRae questioned whether there was any malice in Maynard’s actions.
“I’ve caught it on a phone. One view of it, one angle, it looks like he’s in the air,” he said. “The act itself, it didn’t look like it had much malice but I’ll leave it up to others to decide if that’s worthy of a suspension or not. I don’t know.”
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Speaking in commentary for Channel 7, Geelong star Patrick Dangerfield said he didn’t think Maynard had anything to worry about. “Maynard plays on the edge but in my view, there’s nothing in this because there’s a duty of care to yourself to protect yourself as you come to land,” he said.
“There’s nothing in this for me. Unfortunately in this game, there’s contact that occurs. He can’t protect himself in that position either (Maynard). He’s at the mercy of the oncoming player.”
Matthew Richardson expressed similar thoughts, while David King said on Fox Footy: “I’m not sure what more Maynard could do. He’s going at the ball, he’s trying to smother and then he just braces for contact.
“He doesn’t try and use the elbow at all, he doesn’t use the forearm. I just think this is a football action and unfortunately he’s caught him in the wrong spot and he’s out for the day.”
Jason Dunstall described Maynard’s effort as a “genuine attempted smother”, adding: “Once he’s in the air, he can’t disappear, he can’t change his positioning and it doesn’t look a massive hit per se but unfortunately, it looks like it’s going to result in Brayshaw not taking any further part – we hope he’s okay. But can you punish a player jumping up in the air trying to spoil?”
Social media was heavily divided on the issue, with some suggesting Maynard had a duty of care not to clatter into Brayshaw once he left his feet. And the match review officer agreed with his assessment released on Friday night.
Jacob van Rooyen was also hit with bad news on Friday night, with the young Melbourne forward handed a one-match ban for a striking offence. Van Rooyen collected Daniel McStay on the jaw with his arm after the Magpie dropped a mark in the first quarter.
The incident was assessed as careless conduct, medium impact and high contact, drawing a one-match ban. Van Rooyen will miss his team’s semi-final unless Melbourne successfully overturn the decision at the AFL Tribunal – should they choose to challenge it.
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