Michael Christian threatened to quit as Match Review Officer, conflict with AFL bosses, Laura Kane, Brayden Maynard hit on Angus Brayshaw, video, latest news

Match Review Officer Michael Christian reportedly threatened to quit his role over conflict with AFL bosses regarding Brayden Maynard’s charge for concussing Angus Brayshaw as part of a “dramatic” Friday.

The debate surrounding Maynard’s sentence has been among the most polarising and divisive in recent history as the Magpies vice-captain was referred directly to the tribunal in a rare sentence under new AFL executive general manager Laura Kane’s name.

It comes as Maynard will front the Tribunal on Tuesday in a momentous case, with his finals fate on the line as Collingwood hopes to throw out his ban for rough conduct for attempting to smother Brayshaw’s kick that knocked the Demon out cold in last Thursday night’s Qualifying Final.

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Having compromised to not put his name to the charge, Christian believed Maynard had no case to answer for and was willing to stake his job on the line — a viewpoint opposed by AFL bosses.

“It was a dramatic day at AFL headquarters on Friday, in fact the drama probably began on Thursday night,” Wilson said on Channel 9’s Footy Classified.

“I was at the AFL (finals) function, there was a lot of conversations going on.

“By Friday morning, the view of the Match Review Officer Michael Christian was there was going to be no case to answer for Brayden Maynard.

“Laura Kane disagreed, (incoming AFL CEO) Andrew Dillon disagreed and (outgoing AFL CEO) Gillon McLachlan disagreed. Those bosses insisted on sending this one straight to the tribunal.

“The AFL know that had nothing happened here, it would’ve been a disaster PR-wise for them.

“More disputes occurred when the AFL insisted on grading the charge.”

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It then led to Christian threatening to walk away from the role.

“At this point, my understanding is the Match Review Officer said he would have to consider his future at the AFL if this recommendation went through to the tribunal,” Wilson added.

“Whatever happened after that, whether a bluff was called, but Michael Christian is still there and the recommendation still went through to the tribunal.”

It’s not the first time Christian has been overruled, with former AFL footy operations boss Steve Hocking in 2021 referring David Mack straight to the tribunal for a hit that broke Hunter Clark’s jaw — a hearing in which Mackay was eventually cleared.

The Maynard-Brayshaw decision has however led to question marks over Christian’s future and the role of the MRO.

Christian, a longstanding Match Review Panel member as part of the previous system that included a panel of former players, took over as the sole match review official in 2018 as part of a revamped system.

The rationale over the move to was that a sole decision maker — in liaison with the AFL footy operations boss — would make sentences less complicated to decide on.

“I also understand that initially Michael Christian’s name was going to be on the press release, and that it was Michael Christian himself who insisted on an AFL boss’ name being on the press release,” Wilson added.

“I think it makes it difficult for Michal Christian (going forward).”

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