AFL fans are once again questioning whether Brian Taylor should be allowed to commentate Collingwood games, and what Channel 7 will do if the Magpies make the grand final. The former Collingwood player and experienced commentator found himself at the centre of angry fan backlash after the Magpies’ qualifying final victory over the Melbourne Demons at the MCG on Thursday night.
The Pies booked their spot in the preliminary final after holding off the fast-finishing Dees to complete a 9.6 (60) to 7.11 (53) victory in front of more than 92,000 fans. Collingwood’s win was somewhat overshadowed by Brayden Maynard’s brutal hit on Angus Brayshaw that knocked the Demons player out and ultimately ended his match in the first quarter. Maynard jumped in the air to try and smother Brayshaw’s kick, before tucking his shoulder and bracing himself for contact with Brayshaw, who he collected in the head.
‘LOVE TO HAVE HIM’: Buddy Franklin in eye-opening development
‘WELCOME BACK’: Mark Thompson in major reveal for AFL grand final
Many experts have described it as an accident and argued that there wasn’t more Maynard could do, with the Pies player entitled to protect himself from colliding with his opponent. Maynard will now be sweating on the match review officer’s assessment of the incident, with the consensus being that he will either be let off or face a multi-game suspension.
Demons fans and many neutrals were already seething over the incident and plenty of their frustration also turned to the commentary being provided by BT and others on Channel 7’s coverage. The experienced AFL broadcaster has previously been accused of bias when it comes to commentating Collingwood games and Thursday night’s match was no exception.
Taylor revealed earlier in the week that he was still unsure about the make-up of Channel Seven’s commentary team for this year’s AFL grand final. “I think it’s more than individual, it’s a team that gets selected rather than an individual,” Taylor revealed in his ‘Life of Brian’ podcast this week.
“It has been predominantly the Friday night team (that calls the grand final) over the years that I’ve been at Seven. I don’t know what the history has been prior to that. I can honestly tell you right now as I stand here three or four weeks before the grand final, I don’t know if I’m doing the grand final.
“It’ll be a decision that will be made by the network as to which team should be doing the grand final because chemistry is of ultra importance.” Based on the backlash from Thursday night’s match, plenty of fans will be hoping BT is not part of the grand final commentary team, especially if the Magpies end up going all the way to the big dance.
AFL fans accuse Brian Taylor of Collingwood ‘bias’
The veteran caller was perhaps unfairly criticised for playing down the Maynard incident as a ‘footy act’ and an accident – a view shared by his fellow commentators, fellow pundits, former players and fans. Nevertheless, many viewers were left unimpressed by BT’s commentary at various stages throughout the game.
Brayden Maynard sweating over brutal incident
While Collingwood’s gutsy win earned them a crucial week off, Pies fans will be waiting and watching in earnest to see how the Maynard saga plays out. Addressing the game’s biggest flash point after the final siren, the Collingwood defender said the contact with Brayshaw was an accident and by no means intentional.
He told Channel 7: “I don’t want to say too much, but it’s a footy act. 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.” Maynard was seen expressing his concern for Brayshaw while he was on the ground, and then again as he was being taken from the field.
Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin revealed after the game that Brayshaw was “shattered” and won’t play in next week’s semi-final against the winner of Carlton’s clash with Sydney. “He’s upset,” the Demons coach said.
“He’s obviously had a history with concussion a long time ago so he’s obviously dealing with some emotion there. But he wants to play finals footy. He’s going to be missing for a few weeks and it’s disappointing.” The 27-year-old Brayshaw has worn head-gear ever since suffering four concussions in the space of 12 months, which saw him take an extended break from the game in 2017.
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.