Hamish Brayshaw, the brother of Melbourne midfielder, Angus, has accused the AFL of Collingwood bias.
In an incident that has split the AFL, Angus was knocked out by Collingwood defender Brayden Maynard during the Magpies’ final with the Demons on Thursday night.
In the bitter fallout, it is possible Angus (who has a history of concussion) may never play AFL again, while Maynard could be wiped out for the entire finals series (including the grand final, if Collingwood make it that far).
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Maynard will front the tribunal tonight to fight his rough conduct charge, but debate continues to rage over his attempted smother – and jumping action – that resulted in Brayshaw needing brain scans.
The Collingwood defender labelled the incident, which was graded severe impact, high contact and careless conduct, as a “footy act”.
And many agree, but others believe Maynard had an alternative and he would have landed differently if he was, for example, at training and the oncoming player was a teammate.
The AFL’s own match review officer, Michael Christian, was reluctant to forward the incident to the tribunal, but the AFL’s new football manager Laura Kane stepped in.
Speaking on the Shelter FootyCast, Hamish Brayshaw said the case would “set a precedent” in the AFL for a long time to come.
“I think if this happened in Round 3, (the AFL would be saying) ‘sweet, no worries, mate, you’ve got weeks’.
“(But) the scrutiny comes under the fact that I think the AFL are desperate for Collingwood to win a premiership.
“They want the supporters to go nuts, they’ve got 106,000 members, they want to do everything they can, in my opinion, for that to happen.
“The world wants to see that happen, or the Collingwood fans do anyway, and they have a very loud voice, so a lot of that is driven by the Collingwood fans and I think a few people at the AFL who want to see Collingwood win.
“But duty of care for a player, whether that comes into account, I don’t know.”
Christian played for Collingwood in the late 80s and early 90, and Brayshaw applauded Kane for overruling his decision.
“The MRO wanted to knock it straight away and not even look at it,” Hamish Brayshaw said.
“For Laura Kane to step in and say: ‘Well actually, this is a pretty serious incident, let’s have a look’. Good on her, well done, stepped straight into her role and has gone bang.”
Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said Angus Brayshaw would miss at least Friday’s qualifying final against Carlton but could potentially be out for longer.
The midfielder, 27, has an extensive concussion history from early in his career and wears a protective helmet.
When asked if there was a chance Brayshaw might not been seen at AFL level again, Goodwin said on Tuesday that they were yet to have any of those discussions about Brayshaw’s future.
“But clearly, with concussion you need to make sure everything’s done properly and health is paramount in this space and we’ve seen a number of players retire due to concussion,” Goodwin said.
“We need to make sure the athlete, in this case Angus, is clear, is functioning fully and we’re really clear about what looks like moving forward.
“But I think nothing’s off the table at this point. We need to make sure he works through these protocols the right way.”
Goodwin said Brayshaw was “feeling a lot better” and if he continued to progress, the Demons could start to have conversations with him regarding whether he could return later in the finals series, if Melbourne get that far.
But he consistently stressed the midfielder’s health came first.
“He’s progressing well,” he said.
“Clearly he’s in the protocols and there’s more checks that needs to be done.
“But so far so good in terms of his progression to where we want to be but there’s some tests that still need to be done.
“He’s got to work through these protocols, and we certainly won’t take a risk with him as a player.
“Now, there’s a big picture to think of here with Angus, and he’s got to make sure everything’s done properly. His health is paramount in this situation.”
– With AAP