The AFL will crackdown on contact like Brayden Maynard’s “one in a million” attempted smother for next season, Fox Footy’s experts believe, but will the Pies’ star be punished for the act when it’s yet to be legislated out of the game?
That’s the big issue Collingwood are facing ahead of Tuesday afternoon’s Tribunal hearing as debate continues to rage over whether Maynard’s hit that concussed Demon Angus Brayshaw was simply a footy act or something more sinister.
Melbourne great Garry Lyon believes the contact Maynard made with Brayshaw will be outlawed in 2024.
Watch every match of the 2023 Toyota AFL Finals Series before the Grand Final Live & Ad-Break Free During Play on Kayo Sports. Join now and start streaming instantly >
“This is everything they (the AFL) would hate to see at the showcase time of the year such as this,” he said On the Couch.
“They want this stamped out.
“This won’t be allowed next year.
“Next year this will be as clear as day – it will be written as such as if you elect to bump and hit the head, you’re responsible; if you tackle someone to the ground with arms pinned and they hit their head, you are responsible; if you elect to smother and hit someone in the head, you are responsible. Whether that stands right now … (shrugs).”
Dees reportedly livid at Maynard support | 03:01
Three-time premiership Lion Jonathan Brown said he could support outlawing a move like Maynard’s – but not that the Pies’ star had to “pay the price” now.
“I’m comfortable if they legislate it out – I’m not comfortable with a player getting suspended for a legitimate football action the way the law currently stands … He’ll miss a grand final on this action.
“He’s got every right Brayden Maynard to go for that ball.
“It’s natural to brace. That was a bracing action.”
‘AWKWARD VISIT’: Details reveals as Dees left ‘livid’ over support for Pie amid ban push
‘HARD AND FAIR’: Teammate defends Pies’ star ahead of Tribunal hearing
DOUBLE STANDARDS: ‘You’d be rubbing out six players weekly’ claims in Pie’s ‘unfair’ case
AFL 360 duo Gerard Whateley and Mark Robinson debated the duty of care Maynard needed to have for Brayshaw – who ended up unconscious on the MCG turf for up to two minutes.
“Does he have a right to protect himself at the expense of Brayshaw? He initiated it,” Whateley questioned.
“Once Maynard leaves the ground, that makes contact inevitable.
“He has made the critical choice … but once he’s up, its all on his terms. Brayshaw is as defenceless as the player can be in that moment.”
“The devil is in the detail” on Maynard | 00:50
Robinson said he did not believe Maynard should be suspended for the attempted smother-gone-wrong
“(Brayshaw) had every right to kick the ball and continue with his momentum. Maynard had every right to run and jump and smother the ball,” he said.
“OK, he missed the ball. They collided. This doesn’t happen a lot in footy.
“It’s one in a million and I feel really bad for Angus Brayshaw. Maynard has got every right to run and run and spoil the ball.
“It’s not cut and dry one way or another.
“The human instinct (is) to protect himself.”
Whateley believes the fact Maynard turns his shoulder and braces for a bump while in the air is going to be crucial to the hearing on Tuesday.
“Do you think Maynard has a case of not having enough duty of care because he turned to either bump or brace?” Robinson said.
“It is a LEGAL action” – pros on Maynar | 00:47
“Yes,” Whateley replied. “I feel like that the question is what else could he do? I think the answer to that is anything other than what he did. Hands out (in front), hands out (to the side) – anything other than this (turn to brace for a bump). This is profoundly dangerous to Brayshaw.”
Collingwood great Nathan Buckley compared the case of Swan Tom McCartin who recently escaped suspension on appeal for his hit that left Crow Shane McAdam concussed and with a depressed cheekbone.
“There was no penalty because it was understood McCartin was following the ball and had to change direction. Brayden Maynard didn’t even have a chance to do that. Because he’s in the air, he can’t do that,” Buckley argued On the Couch.
“How accountable is Brayden for that situation?
“Is there going to be a point where players are actually disqualified because they’ve had a number of concussions because they are more prone to head injury like Angus Brayshaw?
“You can only apply the rules as they’re written.
“The emotion and bigger picture has come into play and now we are seeing the action completely differently to in the moment.
“I’m not comfortable about anyone being knocked out (but) I am accepting that happens on the football field at times.
“It’s still a contact game.”
‘Just hope he is okay’ Craig McRae | 09:55
AFL coaches Chris Scott and Ross Lyon both agreed the game had “changed” since their playing days, as they conceded they’d rather see their players pull out of a contest like Maynard’s.
“Smothering is a football act, but you’ve got to do it in an manner where you’re not allowed to cause damage,” Lyon said on AFL360.
“There’s two truths running here. It will set a precedent. This is a massive test case for the whole AFL.
“I’m not sure what a 50-50 ball looks like anymore. So I cut more slack than ever before.”
“We’ve been coached and coach our players that if you turn your body and bump someone in the head and they get knocked out – there aren’t many ways to defend that,” Scott added.
“It’s almost a different game (these days).
“I would prefer players pull out these days – we would have been delisted if we’d done that.”