Adelaide Crows left 'furious' over tribunal decision on Shane McAdam

Shane McAdam was handed a three-game ban by the AFL tribunal, leaving the Adelaide Crows apoplectic.

·4-min read
Shane McAdam is pictured left, with his bump on GWS Giants rival Jacob Wehr shown on the right.
Adelaide Crows player Shane McAdam's three-game suspension has left the club furious, with an appeal to come. Pictures: Getty Images/AFL Media

The Adelaide Crows are reportedly 'furious' after midfielder Shane McAdam was handed a three match ban for an ugly collision with GWS Giants rival Jacob Wehr, and are likely to appeal the verdict. It comes after Sydney's Buddy Franklin and Melbourne's Kysaiah Pickett were handed one and two match bans respectively for other incidents in round one of the AFL season.

The first round of 2023 was played against a backdrop of discussion regarding concussion, after a class action lawsuit was launched against the AFL by more than 60 former players. Debate has erupted as to whether on-field incidents should be judged by their outcome (whether or not a player sustained an injury as a result of any action) or by the action and the potential to have caused an injury.

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McAdam was sent directly to the AFL tribunal by match review officer Michael Christian, after launching himself into Wehr as the two contested a loose ball. The hit bore some resemblance to Pickett's against Western Bulldogs star Bailey Smith.

The hit was described by former AFL player David King as 'exactly what we’re trying to stamp out of the game', McAdam was fortunate that Wehr got up and passed a concussion test soon afterwards, returning to the field. However the ban has apparently left Crows coach Matthew Nicks unhappy, with Channel 9's Corey Norris reporting his discontent.

“Adelaide will appeal the tribunal’s 3 match ban on Shane McAdam,” Norris wrote on Twitter. “The club is furious with the decision. I believe coach Matthew Nicks is very unhappy and rightly so. They’ll fight it.

“If the MRO had just graded it high impact in the first place (2 weeks) we would have avoided this farce. What an embarrassing fat waste of time and money.

“Standby for another year of #afl confusion with these incidents. So inconsistent. Get rid of any grey area and ban the bump once and for all. There’s no place for it in our game anymore. #banthebump.”

Tribunal chairman Jeff Gleeson, when announcing McAdam's ban, noted the Pickett bump. "There appears to be a slightly more glancing aspect to the impact than occurred here," he said.

"If we are wrong about that, we note that the guidelines say that we are not bound by the examples. And it ought not be assumed that we would necessarily grade impact in the Pickett matter as high impact, and not severe."

Shane McAdam competes for the ball during the round one AFL match against the GWS Giants.
Shane McAdam will appeal the three-match ban handed to him by the AFL tribunal. (Photo by Matt King/AFL Photos/Getty Images)

Adelaide Crows to appeal Shane McAdam's ban

McAdam's lawyer had argued in representations to the match review officer that, despite the broader conversations happening in the league, that the bump was nevertheless still a part of the game, and also that McAdam had not made contact to Wehr's head.

“You can talk about the fact he could’ve tackled him and welcomed him with open arms, but that’s not a decision that has to be made, it’s perfectly fine to bump in the AFL,” McAdam’s lawyer said. “If McAdam’s shoulder made contact with the head of Wehr, the head would’ve gone backwards.

"That’s not what happens, it simply rests forward. This is clearly not a high bump because it doesn’t in any way involve the head.”

Meanwhile, Crowd great Mark Bickley warned about tribunal proceedings becoming too bogged down in legal terminology and technicalities. His comments come as AFL lawyers were criticised last year for grandstanding during a hearing involving Buddy Franklin.

“The way it’s presented at the tribunal, it’s like a court hearing,” Bickley told SEN South Australia. “I think sometimes we are in danger of disappearing up our own backsides, some of the rubbish that gets spoken about at the tribunal.”

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