'Absolutely disgusting': Fans accuse Geelong ace of 'dirty' act

Andrew Reid
·4-min read
Seen here, Patrick Dangerfield collected Nick Vlastuin in a brutal first quarter incident.
Patrick Dangerfield came under fire after his hit on Nick Vlastuin. Pic: Ch7/Getty

Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield has left AFL fans divided after a controversial incident in the opening minutes of the grand final.

The veteran Cats midfielder absolutely cleaned up Richmond's Nick Vlastuin in a chaotic opening to the Gabba decider, that also saw Gary Ablett leave the ground with a shoulder injury.

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While Ablett was able to return to the middle towards the emend of the first quarter, Vlastuin was not so lucky.

The Tigers defender was knocked out by what appeared to be an accidental high elbow from Dangerfield.

The Cats star punched a contested ball, before bending his arm to brace for contact with Vlastuin, whom he clattered into a split second later.

Vlastuin lay motionless for several minutes before being taken off the ground on a stretcher, ruled out for the remainder of the game in a devastating setback.

Viewers were left outraged by the actions of Dangerfield, who they claimed deliberately used his elbow to wipe out his opponent.

Pictured here, Nick Vlastuin played no further part in the match after the first round accident.
Nick Vlastuin had to leave the Gabba on a stretcher after being knocked out in a hit by Patrick Dangerfield. Pic: Getty

Dangerfield incident divides fans

While there was plenty of outrage over Dangerfield's contact, not everyone saw it that way.

Plenty of other viewers argued that the Geelong star was merely bracing for impact and the contact between his elbow and Vlastuin's head was just an unfortunate accident.

In a rough and tough opening term, Geelong's Brandon Parfitt had his thumb checked for injury and Richmond's Nathan Broad was left groggy by a heavy collision and taken off the ground.

In good news for Geelong, Ablett was able to return to the ground after his early injury scare.

The retiring champion - playing his 357th and final match - hurt his left shoulder in a tackle from Tigers captain Trent Cotchin during an explosive opening five minutes.

Ablett was helped off the Gabba ground by trainers, clearly in pain, and was taken to the change room for medical assessment.

A huge cheer went around the ground when he reappeared on the bench at the 19-minute mark and he came back on before quarter-time.

Geelong took a 5.5 (35) to 3.2 (20) lead into halftime.

with AAP

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