An AFL legend says Lachie Neale’s reputation among his peers could be hurt by this reaction to Gary Rohan’s blow.
AFL legend Nick Riewoldt says Lachie Neale‘s reputation could be damaged among his peers if Gary Rohan avoids a suspension for a striking incident between the two.
Neale and Rohan exchanged blows behind the play in a heated first quarter of Geelong’s thrilling win over the Brisbane Lions, with Neale going to ground after a swinging right arm from Rohan.
Following the incident, cameras at the ground caught Neale raising three fingers at Rohan, seemingly suggesting that a three-week ban was headed his way for the strike.
While Rohan was not placed on report by the umpires, the incident is sure to be assessed by AFL MRO Michael Christian.
Riewoldt suggested that Christian’s decision could prove pivotal for Neale going forward.
“He’s in trouble now because he’s caught there rubbing his jaw saying you’ve got three weeks,” Riewoldt told Fox Footy.
“If (the MRO) turn around now and decide no you got him in the shoulder, what does that do for Lachie Neale’s reputation?”
Riewoldt’s point was echoed by AFL reporter Jon Ralph, who called Neale’s reaction the “smoking gun”.
“He cannot take that back now because he’d get done for staging,” Ralph told Fox Footy.
“All these staging reports are basically about what happens when you are trying to get a player reported when he doesn’t deserve it.
“You’ve got to say that the player code in football is officially dead.”
Following the match, Geelong coach Chris Scott expressed confidence that Rohan would avoid a ban for the exchange.
“I thought Neale struck Gary on the chest and then Gary struck him on the chest,” he said.
“Neale did (start it), the vision is clear. I’m not saying he did the wrong thing, that’s footy.
“I’ve had a pretty good look at what Gary did and I’m comfortable with it.”