Collingwood Magpies star Brayden Maynard cleared for bump on Angus Brayshaw


“We are clearly satisfied that Maynard did not engage in the act of bumping Brayshaw. It is not suggested by the AFL and nor could it be sensibly suggested that Maynard made a decision to bump his opponent at the moment of jumping in the air to smother. At that point in time, Maynard was clearly making a decision to smother.”

Heavy collision: Brayden Maynard crashes into Angus Brayshaw.

Heavy collision: Brayden Maynard crashes into Angus Brayshaw.Credit: Channel Seven

A medical report detailed in the hearing said Brayshaw had experienced “significant headaches” from the collision and was sent to hospital for precautionary scans. Though Brayshaw’s symptoms have improved mildly, he remains in doubt for the preliminary final should the Dees progress that far.

The AFL’s legal counsel Andrew Woods argued it was unreasonable for Maynard to jump in the manner he did to smother the ball and that by turning his body he had “significantly increased” the likelihood of forceful contact to Brayshaw’s head.

“This type of contact isn’t common,” Woods said. “Leaping forward in the air with force to an opponent running in the opposite direction holds a key risk of badly injuring their opponent. It’s a dangerous action to undertake and it breaches the duty of care owed to the other player.”

The league accepted Maynard would have made contact to Brayshaw’s torso with his knee if he did not turn his body, which Woods would likely have been a reportable offence as well.

“But it would reduce the carelessness and show he’s showing some prudence in the way he impacts him,” Woods said.

Collingwood, represented by Ben Ihle, said contact between Maynard and Brayshaw had not been inevitable when the defender leapt to smother but by the Demons midfielder’s movement as he landed after kicking.

Likening the pair to cars travelling in opposite directions, Ihle said Brayshaw had “veered” into Maynard’s path.

“In circumstances where car B [Brayshaw] moves in a way that is somewhat expected, if there’s a collision do we blame the driver of car A for being careless or not acting reasonably?” Ihle said.

Angus Brayshaw returned to Melbourne training on Tuesday following his head injury.

Angus Brayshaw returned to Melbourne training on Tuesday following his head injury.Credit: Getty Images

“I suggest there is some force in the analogy, though not perfect. At the point Maynard jumps there is no inevitability of contact nor is it probable.”

The Magpies said there had been nothing “inherently dangerous” in Maynard jumping to smother, and that he had slowed his forward momentum by propping and jumping off two legs.

Maynard had said he was not aware of where Brayshaw was.

“When I jumped to smother the ball, he’s on my right side. When I smothered, I looked for the ball, ‘shit, he was there’,” Maynard told the hearing, claiming he had touched the ball.

“I flinched, and seized up. Next thing I know he was on the floor, and I was a bit rattled myself.”

Maynard rejected suggestions he from the AFL he could have stretched his arms out to cushion the impact on Brayshaw, or opened his arms to collect the Demon in that way.

“I feel the same outcome would have happened because it was a collision, it happened very quickly,” Maynard said.

The controversial clash early in the first term of the Magpies’ seven-point win last Thursday night left Brayshaw concussed and the Demons seething. Brayshaw was taken from the field on a stretcher.

It was later assessed as careless conduct, severe impact and high contact, and was referred directly to the tribunal.

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On Sunday, Demons star Christian Petracca said Brayshaw was “not going great” after his heavy collision with Maynard, but added that Melbourne remained hopeful he would yet be fit to return this finals campaign.

“[A return to play this year] will be based on what ‘Gus’ is feeling and his symptoms,” Petracca said.

“Obviously there is the 12-day protocol. If we win this week, fingers crossed Gus feels right to play in the prelim, but I feel like, when I saw Gus and speaking to him, footy’s just one thing, it’s all about his health, and you’ve got your brain for the rest of your life. Footy’s just a part of you.

“When I speak to him, and you look at people with concussion it’s more than just footy. Whatever he wants to do, it’s up to him.”

Maynard was labelled “a big puppy dog who, obviously, plays on the edge” by teammate Taylor Adams last Friday.

Due to the AFL’s concussion protocols, Brayshaw is unavailable for selection this Friday night for the Demons’ semi-final against Carlton.

Brayshaw took an extended break from the game in 2017, having had four concussions in the space of 12 months. He has since worn a helmet. Hamish Brayshaw, Angus’ brother and a former West Coast player, said on Monday that Maynard deserved to be suspended.

“I think it will really draw a line in the sand as to whether they take into account the outcome versus the action,” he told Network Ten’s 10 News First. “My initial thought is that it probably deserves a couple of weeks. It’s tough for me to take the emotion out of it obviously, but I would be surprised if it gets knocked down, but it will be one of those ones where it’s zero weeks and play on, or three or four and miss the grand final.”

In the second case, Martin pleaded guilty to striking, but the Blues fought for the impact to be graded as medium instead of high, citing several examples that had been classified this way, including Jason Horne-Francis’s strike on Josh Kelly last year.

The tribunal also took into consideration the assessment of medium impact for Jacob Van Rooyen’s hit on Collingwood’s Dan McStay, saying there was a need for consistency for comparable matters.

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