AFL great Nathan Brown says the new rule needs reviewing after both Richmond and Carlton took advantage last night.
The Blues brought Oscar McDonald on at half time to replace Jack Silvagni, who had a shoulder injury, with McDonald responding with two goals.
Richmond used the rule to replace Nick Vlastuin, who had a knee problem, late in the third quarter, although Melbourne legend Garry Lyon wasn’t convinced about the severity of the injury.
“Oscar McDonald comes on, Silvagni looked like it was a legitimate shoulder (injury),” he said on Fox Footy.
“You just wonder whether you’re sitting in the (Richmond) coaches box, McDonald has a big impact and they go hey, their sub’s on, get ours on. (If) we’ve got no injury – find one.”
Speaking on TODAY, Brown said the rule has to be tightened.
“I think the AFL should have made a hard and fast rule, for so long we’ve been worried about concussion, players go off and the doctors being instructed not to let concussed players back on,” he said.
“We need to protect players, but then you’re a man down.
“The rule should have only been only for concussion, if you get concussion, you’re out of the game, then you can bring a sub on.”
Brown said the current rule is open to abuse from teams, who will look for the opportunity to get a fresh player onto the field.
“When you start to have injuries, when you start to have little knocks on the knee, like Vlastuin had last night, it can be used the wrong way as it was last night,” he said.
“But the rules there, they are going to find loopholes. Coaches, medical staff are going to want their players out there.
“When a sub comes on fresh last night like they did, it has a big impact.”
Brown said tightening the rule to allow concussion replacements only would make the change a lot more palatable.
“Just concussion, I think it’s a hard and fast rule, everyone would understand that, everyone would respect that, and they would know what’s going on,” he explained.
“It puts too much pressure on the doctor as well, to be making split (second) decisions on their players who may not be that injured.”
Dustin Martin was outstanding as the Tigers opened their season with a 105-80 victory over the Blues.
Martin had 12 of his 31 disposals when the game was on the line in the final quarter, with the Tigers only eight points to the good at the final change.
“The last game he played was the grand final, I thought that was the greatest performance I’d ever seen, (but) he gets better every time you see him,” Brown said.
“He has to be talked about now in the greatest player of the game conversation.
“I think Leigh Matthews and Wayne Carey sit up there with Gary Ablett, but Dustin Martin, it’s scary to think he’s getting better.”
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