AFL great calls on league to appeal 'dangerous' tackle

Chris Young
Sports Reporter
Hawthorn's Shaun Burgoyne escaped major sanctions for this dangerous tackle on Geelong star Patrick Dangerfield, leaving AFL greats up in arms. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

AFL legend Garry Lyon has been left perplexed by the Match Review Officer’s decision to spare Hawthorn’s Shaun Burgoyne from suspension after a skull-rattling tackle on Geelong’s Patrick Dangerfield.

Many expected Burgoyne to come under the microscope for a sling tackle on Dangerfield that left the Geelong star dazed, but instead was only handed a $1000 fine, halved due to the coronavirus pandemic’s economic impact.

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It was expected Burgoyne’s tackle would attract more scrutiny after slamming Dangerfield into the turf almost head first, with his arms pinned to his side - but the soft penalty left Lyon fuming on Melbourne morning radio.

“The AFL should come out this morning and say, ‘We the AFL are appealing the decision that was handed down by the MRO. We don’t think it is consistent with how we see the concussion issue in footy’,” Lyon told SEN Breakfast.

“That was dangerous any way you look at it and it was only lucky that Dangerfield didn’t incur a much more serious head injury.

“One arm was held in tight and it was a severe sling tackle into the turf.

“Now that is an absolute definition of what we want to get out of our game and yet the AFL, they talk the talk, they don’t walk the walk when it comes to this and concussion and that is a very poor decision and they should appeal it today.

“I’m staggered. I thought it was a two-week suspension and I’m stunned.”

AFL greats express concern over Burgoyne tackle

The Cats scored a thumping 17.6 (108) to 7.5 (47) victory over bitter rivals Hawthorn, and Dangerfield managed to escape unhurt - much to the surprise of many pundits.

Speaking to the Herald Sun, concussion expert Alan Pearce said these tackles were precisely the type the league should be looking to eliminate from the game.

“Those are the kinds of impact tackles that lead towards long-term brain damage,” Pearce said.

“Dangerfield wasn’t concussed but they are the sort of heavy impacts we are so concerned about.”

Western Bulldogs great Brad Johnson was unequivocal in arguing that a harsher penalty should have been levelled at Burgoyne.

“That’s a dangerous action. That sling is no good. It shouldn’t be part of our game.

“Look at the aggressiveness — Danger is lucky he put his arm down, but he could’ve popped the shoulder. His head hits the ground and he gets up, but it’s a terrible message to the footy community that you can get away with that.”