Brisbane Lions key forward Eric Hipwood is set to come under scrutiny from the Match Review Officer for a ‘disgusting’ off the ball incident that left an AFL umpire face down on the turf.
Late in the third quarter of the Lions' 108-67 win over the Western Bulldogs at the Gabba, Hipwood appeared to push his opponent Ryan Gardner into a match official that was in close proximity to the pair.
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Gardner collided forcibly with the umpire, causing both individuals to go to ground, as Hipwood was set free to run inside the forward 50 and claim an uncontested mark.
He duly converted it into six points for the Lions.
A solid collision with the umpire gives Hipwood space... pic.twitter.com/XXND1ehdmG
— 7AFL (@7AFL) June 30, 2022
Does Hipwood get fined for pushing Dog into umpire Mollison? #AFLLionsDogs
— Tim Gossage 🤓 (@TimGossage) June 30, 2022
Surely Eric Hipwood gets a few weeks for deliberately (or even recklessly) pushing a player into an umpire to gain himself an advantage (he got free, took a mark a kicked a goal).
— Elliott Dunn (@ebie_hd) June 30, 2022
Calling the action for Channel Seven, commentator Jason noticed the collision caused by Hipwood as it happened live.
“A big hit with the umpire behind the play…that was solid contact,” Bennett said.
“He’s actually pushed his opponent into the umpire, looking at that angle.”
Fans on Twitter were just as quick to jump on the incident, levelling harsh criticism in the direction of Hipwood.
Adjectives such as ‘dog act’, ‘dirty’, ‘cheating’ and ‘disgusting’ were among the words used to describe the shove.
Hipwood should be suspended for that, dog act. #AFLLionsDogs
— Reality (@GiftOfReality) June 30, 2022
That is pretty dirty and very ordinary from Hipwood. #AFLLionsDogs
— Paul White (@Tigerwhite1977) June 30, 2022
Hipwood pushes the bulldog player into the umpire 50m off the ball, then marks and goals. Diplomatically that is unsportsmanlike behaviour, others might say he is cheating. #AFLLionsDogs
— Anthony Smith (@antsmith2103) June 30, 2022
— David Shiel (@dave_shiel) June 30, 2022
Provided he enters an early guilty plea, it is likely Hipwood will not face any suspension.
Due to the AFL’s current rules for careless umpire contact, specifically ‘pushing an opponent into an umpire or their direct path’, Hipwood is expected to cop nothing more than a minor hit to his hip-pocket in the form of a $1000 fine.
Hipwood headed for a fine under AFL rules.
Fairly simple, comes under careless contact with ump classification. pic.twitter.com/jmdI52Xl1b
— Mark Stevens (@StevoMedia) June 30, 2022
AFL urged to provide better protection for umpires
However, Fox Footy pundit David King said the proposed sanction was too light, adding the AFL needed to crack down on how it deals with such occurrences.
“We’re trying to protect the umpires, we’re trying to look after them in every facet of the game and then it’s a $1000 fine for pushing a player directly into a field umpire,” King said after the match.
“We need to alter that straight away. OK, he (Hipwood) gets the luxury of that one, but that needs to be changed immediately.”
King’s fellow panelist Jason Dunstall agreed, calling on harsher punishments depending on how significant the contact with the umpire was.
“I’ve got no problem if you sit there and say we start with the minimum of a week and then we load it up compared to how bad the contact is,” Dunstall said.
“If you’re trying to outlaw a particular act you’ve got to punish it properly…fines should not be applicable.”
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