AFL boss hits out at bias claim

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan says a player’s comments that the league wanted Collingwood to win the flag were “ridiculous”.

AFL: The AFL has stated that they had ‘no grounds’ to appeal the Maynard decision that saw him deemed free to play despite making contact with the head in a controversial collision.

McLachlan rubbished comments made by Brayshaw’s brother, star WAFL footballer Hamish, that there was a push from the league to free Maynard to play in the Magpies’ preliminary final.

McLachlan said the AFL held the view Maynard should have been suspended, but he approved of how the case was handled by the MRO and tribunal.

The outgoing chief executive reiterated Wednesday’s comments by football boss Laura Kane that a thorough review of the incident and similar scenarios would be conducted ahead of next season.

Brayden Maynard was freed to play in Collingwood’s preliminary final after the tribunal ruled he wasn’t at fault for concussing Angus Brayshaw. Picture: Michael Klein

“I want to acknowledge that it is a very difficult situation – obviously there has been a player knocked out for an extended period of time, and everyone I know has Angus’ wellbeing at the forefront of their minds,” McLachlan said.

“Clearly, the AFL thought (the incident) was worthy of suspension. We respect the tribunal’s decision, and as we said yesterday, when you have an incident like that, we’re duty bound to continue to look at whether there could be changes or other things that can prevent it or continue to have our players as safe as they can be out on the field, albeit that it’s a contact sport.

“Our response is to say, ‘well, if there’s no avenues to appeal, let’s actually look at the incident and see if there’s tweaks or opportunities to change the rules or modify them so we can do our very best to protect the health and wellbeing of our players on the field’.”

McLachlan said he was not aware of Brayshaw’s comments on the Shelter FootyCast but said the theory the AFL was trying to help Collingwood’s flag tilt was “nonsense”.

Gill McLachlan was coy on the preliminary finals fixture but said Collingwood’s game would likely be on the Friday night, with Brisbane to play in a Saturday twilight match. Picture: Dylan Burns / Getty Images

“I haven’t heard or seen (the comments), but if they were I think it’s ridiculous. (Maynard) was charged for three weeks, he was prosecuted aggressively and the tribunal system played out,” he said.

“I don’t know who said that, but what a load of nonsense … it’s plausible if he wasn’t charged, but he was.

“The difference of views on this incident played out. I don’t know why and how it played out so publicly, but that is the system … I think it’s exactly how it should have worked out.”

McLachlan would not confirm the AFL’s fixture for the preliminary finals weekend but hinted strongly that top-ranked Collingwood would host its prelim on the Friday night with a Saturday twilight game to follow at the Gabba.

“I think the expectation is that the highest-ranked finalist gets the Friday night, but obviously travel comes into it, and that’s what they’re working through,” he said.

“The precedent we’ve established in the last few years is that in the prelims we like to have everyone back in their home state on Saturday night, so I imagine that will be part of it this year as well.”


Kylie Rogers is the big winner in a restructure of the league’s leadership under incoming chief executive Andrew Dillon.

The league’s customer and commercial executive general manager will take on an expanded role including the crucial broadcast portfolio, which was previously the responsibility of long-term executive Travis Auld.

Auld left the AFL early last month after he was headhunted by the Australian Grand Prix Corporation to become its new chief executive.

Kylie Rogers (right) will take charge of the AFL’s broadcast arrangements following the departure of Travis Auld to the Australian Grand Prix. Picture: Dylan Burns / Getty Images

Matthew Chun, who was an acting member of the executive, has been appointed executive general manager of finance, clubs and infrastructure, with former talent pathways and state leagues head Tristan Salter to report to him as general manager of operations and Tasmania.

AFL general counsel Stephen Meade has also been promoted to the league’s executive, in a role which will include oversight of the AFL Integrity Unit, which will continue to be led by Tony Keane.

Dillon said Rogers’ strong relationships with the AFL’s broadcast partners meant she was well suited to the expanded role.

“Kylie has done an incredible job in driving the commercial success of the AFL and Marvel Stadium while also ensuring our game remains affordable and accessible,” he said.

“In her role, Kylie has built a strong, trusted relationship with our broadcast partners over the last few years and played a key role in the negotiation of our new broadcast partnership.”

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