'No excuses': AFL great torches $5.4m man's 'pathetic' act

Chris Young
·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Carlton recruit Zac Williams has been criticised for an unnecessary bump which has cost him a one game ban. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Carlton recruit Zac Williams has been criticised for an unnecessary bump which has cost him a one game ban. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

After their lengthy pursuit of free agent Zac Williams over the off-season, Carlton will have to wait until round two of the AFL season before their boom recruit takes the field.

Williams, who switched to the Blues from GWS last year, had his appeal against a one-match ban stemming from a high hit on St Kilda's Hunter Clark in last weekend's pre-season match.

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The 26-year-old faced some criticism over the hit, with many pointing out Williams has much more pressure on him having inked a $5.4 million deal with the club.

The Blues unsuccessfully tried to argue Williams' hit on Clark was 'low' impact, rather than the 'medium' grading it had applied to it.

Despite Clarke playing out the game for the Saints, the tribunal rejected Carlton's arguments to alter the ban.

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Discussing the incident on Fox Footy, former Blues champion Mark MccLure said Williams would need to be better in future.

“I thought it was ordinary … he copped his right whack and he’ll get a week and he’ll move on,” Maclure told AFL 360.

“I’m not happy that he’s come to this football club that I was at and all of a sudden he’s out not playing the first round. I reckon that’s pathetic for mine.

“I think they should fine him … and say: ‘Hey mate, we brought you here to play. We didn’t bring you here to not play.’”

Carlton pleaded guilty to the careless conduct and high-contact aspects, but club lawyer Peter O'Farrell argued the incident should be graded as low impact instead of medium.

O'Farrell said the fact Clark had to undergo a concussion test shouldn't mean the incident is automatically graded as medium impact.

He also said the fact Clark was cleared of concussion and was able to return within 10 minutes was proof the hit was low impact.

AFL counsel Jeff Gleeson said it was merely "good fortune" Clark didn't suffer a more serious injury like a concussion or facial damage.

"That type of bump is a roll of the dice," Gleeson said.

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MacLure added that the Williams ban would hinder Carlton's ability to get their season started on a high note, with the Blues last finals appearance coming back in 2013.

With Williams spearheading a rebuilt list which, on paper, should put the team in position to contest for the top eight, Maclure said he wasn't impressed with what he saw over the weekend.

The former Blue said there were 'no excuses' for the Blues this season.

Zac Williams will make his Carlton debut in round two, after he serves a one match suspension. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Zac Williams will make his Carlton debut in round two, after he serves a one match suspension. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

“You either get there and perform properly … they’ve been in so many games and can’t finish them – and I’ll give you a little reason why: They don’t team well.

“I watched the football the other night against St Kilda. The St Kilda forwards are pushing and shoving and holding people out so ‘you can mark the ball’ – that’s what you’re supposed to. I didn’t see any of that from Carlton, not any of it at all. They don’t team well, they’ve got to get things right in that area.

“They’ve got enough talent, they’ve got plenty of talent.”

Carlton are set to begin their AFL campaign next Thursday against reigning premiers Richmond, as they aim to break a 10-match losing streak against the Tigers.

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