AFL fans in uproar over Dan Butler's tackle on Nick Blakey

St Kilda's Dan Butler was penalised for a dangerous tackle on Sydney opponent Nick Blakey, prompting a huge reaction from AFL fans.

Dan Butler is pictured tackling Nick Blakey on the left, and celebrating a goal on the right.
St Kilda's Dan Butler could be in strife over this tackle on Sydney Swans opponent Nick Blakey. Pictures: Channel 7/Getty Images

St Kilda spoiled the Buddy Franklin party at the SCG on Thursday night, easing past the Swans by 14 points - but it has come at the cost of an outcry over Dan Butler's tackle on Sydney Swans star Nick Blakey. Butler is likely to come under scrutiny from the AFL Match Review Officer after his chasedown tackle saw Blakey's head inadvertently hit the tuft fairly forcefully.

Blakey came off the ground early in the third quarter after being caught in a crunching tackle from Butler, however the Swans then subbed Blakey out of the game not due to a concussion, but because of a toe injury that has troubled the 23-year-old for some time. The Swans confirmed after the game that he did not have a concussion, having passed a head injury assessment.

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Swans great turned commentator Jude Bolton said he'd be disappointed if Butler copped a ban for the tackle. The AFL this season has been cracking down on dangerous tackles, particularly those which either result in or have a potential for concussion.

“I still think it’s a footy action,” he told Channel 7. “It’s one of the toughest tackles to execute when you’re running from behind and I think he’s actually guided him down.

“There’s going to be accidents in football. I don’t think it’s cut and dry like that.”

Fans were also largely in Butler's corner, with many believing he had laid a hard, but fair tackle. Butler has kicked 18 goals in 12 games for St Kilda this season.

Swans coach John Longmire said part of the rationale for subbing Blakey out of the game was the fact that the HIA would have taken 15 minutes to complete, time the Swans could ill-afford with the Saints charging back into the contest. The Swans held a two-point lead over the Saints at the time.

“He passed his HIA, he was fine,” Longmire said. “He was going to take 15 minutes by the time he was assessed and allowed back on the ground which is pretty critical at that point and he had a toe injury coming into the game, so we had to get moving.

“It was a pretty important part of the game and 15 minutes is a good slab of time. With his toe being sore we decided to make a change."

Ross Lyon says to wait for MRO ruling in Dan Butler tackle

St Kilda counterpart Ross Lyon said he hadn't watched the footage properly when he spoke to reporters after the game. He did back the MRO process, saying there was little to be done until a verdict was reached.

“I didn’t assess it. Everyone has come to me on it (but) we’re unwavering in the process in and outside the club so that can go through the channels and they (MRO) can make an assessment,” Lyon said.

“Clearly that part of the game is challenging for everyone. I haven’t had a look at it, I was looking at Warner exploding out of stoppages.

“It’s a delicate (issue), isn’t it. I’ve got a daughter that got knocked out playing netball with a clash of heads.

“She’s out for three weeks and I’m a bit ‘get moving’. I’m a bit flippant with it but I think to be cautious and go through the protocols is the right thing.”

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