Crucial AFL call on Maynard challenge

After a nervous night for Brayden Maynard and Collingwood fans, the AFL has come to a decision on the tribunal’s verdict.

AFL: Pies star Nick Daicos has resumed training as he looks to return in time for Collingwood’s preliminary final clash.

The Collingwood defender is now certain to take part in the Magpies’ preliminary final following the league’s decision.

It comes after the AFL intervened to charge Maynard and send his case to be examined by the tribunal following reports match review officer Michael Christian had initially decided not charge him.

The league announced the decision shortly after the 12pm deadline on Wednesday, saying in a statement it had given the verdict “careful consideration”.

“The AFL has confirmed that after careful consideration and review of the Tribunal’s decision and reasons following last night’s hearing into the incident involving Collingwood’s Brayden Maynard and Melbourne’s Angus Brayshaw, the AFL has decided not to appeal the Tribunal’s decision,” the statement read.

Brayden Maynard is officially free to play in Collingwood’s preliminary final after the AFL chose not to appeal the tribunal’s decision. Picture: Fox Footy

After a marathon four-hour sitting on Tuesday night, the tribunal cleared Maynard of wrongdoing, finding he acted reasonably in trying to smother Brayshaw’s kick during the first quarter of the qualifying final.

The tribunal said he did not have time to react differently when he turned his shoulder and made contact with Brayshaw’s head.

The Melbourne midfielder, who has a history of concussion, was unconscious for about two minutes following the collision.

Former Demons footballer Shaun Smith, who is the father of current player Joel, described the verdict as an “embarrassment and an absolute joke”.

The AFL tribunal cleared Maynard of any responsibility for Brayshaw’s concussion. Picture: Morgan Hancock / Getty Images

Replying to comments under a Facebook post he wrote on Tuesday night, Smith slammed the tribunal decision as “absolutely disgusting” and called the AFL a “disgusting organisation”.

Smith, 54, has linked repetitive concussions during his playing career with ongoing mental health issues in retirement, and has committed to donating his brain to the Australian Sports Brain Bank for testing as he believes he is suffering from CTE.

In 2020 he was awarded a landmark $1.4m insurance payout for damage from concussion during his playing career.

Brayshaw ran laps at Casey Fields on Tuesday as Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said he had improved over the last few days, but it is unclear whether he will return during the finals series.

Goodwin said there had been no discussions between Brayshaw and the club about retirement, but “nothing was off the table” as the Demons prioritised his health.

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