Matthew Lloyd has questioned why the bump continues to get players banned when the risk has long been apparent.
AFL great Matthew Lloyd has questioned why the bump continues to get players suspended when the risk has long been apparent.
Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield copped a three-match ban for nailing Adelaide’s Jake Kelly last weekend, a bump that resulted in a head clash and a broken nose for the Crows player. Referred directly to the tribunal, Dangerfield said of the incident: “You feel like you’re on trial for murder.”
Amid a raft of reaction, Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said that he’d always instructed his players not to bump; “The bump’s very risky … tackle where you can.”
“What Simon said there, we knew that 11 years ago when I was still playing. I don’t know why we’re still in this position,” Lloyd said on Nine’s Footy Classified, though he branded Dangerfield’s bump a genuine split-second decision devoid of malice.
“When you’re in that situation, you’re thinking of ways … in his own mind, there’s no way he thought, ‘I’m going to clash heads’. You get caught up in the moment, a split-second decision, he would have tried to hit Kelly down the front, he’s got the accidental head clash.
“We all understand that there was no malice in it, it was accidental, but we all just knew, ‘Patrick, you’re going to cop two, potentially three weeks’. He just got the execution wrong.”
Lloyd highlighted a past incident involving himself and Chris Judd, in which the Essendon champion could have nailed the Blues great; but knew that he was likely to lay an illegal hit and pulled out, resulting in an awkward head clash that at least saved him from suspension.
Dangerfield said that in the moment, he felt that a bump on Kelly was his only option to protect himself.
“As much as you have a due diligence to look after the health and safety of others around you, you’ve got to look after yourself as well,” Dangerfield said.
Former St Kilda and Fremantle coach Ross Lyon said that the bump was a dying art and harsh penalties were appropriate for players who got them wrong. He said the Dangerfield incident, while not malicious, was a bad look for the game.
“I loved those earlier bumps but times have changed, there’s a duty of care,” Lyon said on Footy Classified.
“I like the simplicity. If you elect to bump and then there’s incidental contact, well then, you need to own that. We admire the great players’ split-second decision-making with and without the ball and that’s a part of it.
“I feel for him (Dangerfield) but I like the standard. We want young kids coming through. If I’m a parent and seeing that, I’m thinking, ‘Is Aussie Rules for my son or daughter? I’m not too sure’.”
Former Collingwood president Eddie McGuire agreed with a suggestion from veteran footy writer Caroline Wilson that the game’s image would have factored into Dangerfield’s decision not to contest the charge. The Cats gun sought only a downgrade, which was unsuccessful.
“He is a great football citizen, Patrick Dangerfield, and I agree with you,” McGuire said on Footy Classified.
“I think he would have looked at it and realised, ‘For the good of the game, I was done’.
“I think he was going to get done anyway and I think he was not only pragmatic but took the higher moral ground. I agree with you and I salute him.
“He got his three weeks and he copped his three weeks – and that’s what he should have got to be honest.”
Lyon added: “It sets a clear precedent for the rest of the competition for the rest of the year.”
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