Former Geelong captain Joel Selwood has taken aim at Clayton Oliver over the Melbourne player's act of sportsmanship towards Carlton rival Patrick Cripps. Vision emerged on social media this week of the moment Oliver told Cripps his nose was bleeding in the final minutes of the Blues' semi-final win over the Demons, rather than alerting the umpires.
Cripps had gone off the ground under the blood rule early in the game, and his nose started to bleed again in the dying stages. But it went undetected by the umpires the second time around, and Cripps stayed on the field to help his side claim a last-gasp victory with a goal in the final minute.
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Fans were full of praise for Oliver's act of sportsmanship when he could have easily told the umpires and forced his opponent off the ground at a crucial stage. But according to Geelong champion Selwood, that's exactly what Oliver should have done.
Props to Clayton Oliver. Most players would have alerted the umpire to the blood coming from Cripps’ nose. He tells Cripps to wipe it. And they go at it again.#AFLDeesBlues #TwoBulls pic.twitter.com/PBW06TPPrS
— Sam Aliano (@SamAliano74) September 19, 2023
“It was interesting towards the end of that game, a passage of play that Cripps was involved in,” Selwood said on Channel 7 program 'Talking Finals' on Wednesday night. “We have a look here .... Melbourne were so brutal early in the game (but) here we see Oliver letting Cripps know that his nose was bleeding (and Cripps) just wipes the blood away.
“Melbourne three points up. That was a chance to get Patty Cripps off the ground. And when you are off the ground at that time of the game, it is hard to get back on. Take him out of the game.”
Selwood revealed the Cats were in a similar situation during last year's finals series, and took no mercy on Brisbane superstar Lachie Neale. “We went after a few, to be honest. We planned for it all week,” Selwood said about Geelong's aggressive approach.
“The one that comes to mind was last year, the prelim against Brisbane. Lachie Neale was a player that we thought was a fire-starter for Brisbane.
“It is cold aggression, to be honest. There is nothing that we want to do out of the rules that gives him a free kick but when he gets the ball, you want to make sure that he’s felt pressure. And you can do it in a number of different ways.”
Recently retired Richmond captain Trent Cotchin added: “It is fatiguing. Every contest he gets an extra bump is just a little out of the tank, so when it comes to the crux of it - and these games can be decided by small margins but sometimes they can blow out - that can be the accumulative effect of the contact.”
Clayton Oliver at centre of multiple flashpoint incidents
The Oliver incident was just one of a number of turning points in the game that ended the Demons' season. Oliver was also at the centre of extraordinary scenes late in the game when his kick from beyond 50 was touched on the line by teammate and captain Max Gawn.
Replays were inconclusive as to whether a Carlton player also got a touch, but it looked as though Gawn cost his team what would have proved to be the winning goal. Melbourne's straight-sets exit made them the first team under the current system to exit the finals in that fashion in back-to-back years.
“Any way you look at it it’s a failed season, which is a bitter pill to swallow," Melbourne great Garry Lyon said on Fox Footy after the game, declaring coach Simon Goodwin would be “absolutely gutted.” He added: “They’ve been in the top four for something like 58 of 62 weeks and they’ve got one premiership to show for it and they’ve lost their last four finals. This would be heartbreaking for him.”
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