'Breaking point': AFL legend's plea over Patrick Dangerfield ban

Riley Morgan
·Sports Reporter
·2-min read
Patrick Dangerfield (pictured right) running with the ball and Jake Kelly (pictured left) knocked out.
Patrick Dangerfield (pictured right) copped a three-match ban for his bump on Adelaide star Jake Kelly (pictured left). (Getty Images)

AFL legend Nick Riewoldt has called for the AFL to use Patrick Dangerfield's ban as a 'line in the sand' moment for rulings on concussion incidents.

Dangerfield has been suspended for three weeks by the AFL tribunal over his hip and shoulder on Adelaide rival Jake Kelly.

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Dangerfield's bump was judged to be of the 'severe' grading, leading the Tribunal to hand down a stiff three-match ban to the Cats superstar.

This prompted a strong response from St Kilda great Riewoldt on Fox Sports' AFL 360 over the stance the code needs to make after this point.

He pointed out that for the safety of the players there needs to be a consistent bands for concussion incidents.

“I think we all accept fans want footy in its purist form … we want big athletic men colliding. But what we don’t want is concussions,” Riewoldt said on the show.

“In light of all we have learnt, CTE and the danger of concussion over the past few years and I think there will be a lot of people that will come out in Patrick’s defence and say it was accidental … but the AFL now where we sit, they are past the point of what is fair.

“In fact, this is breaking point now. We’ve had eight years of flipping and flopping and back and forth, that are now lost to change that behaviour. We heard Ken Hinkley in the opening that this is a habit.

“We’ve lost eight years of those habits by toing and froing with the rules, this is breaking point. This is what needs to happen for the need of game going forward.”

Riewoldt feels for Dangerfield after ban

Host Gerard Whateley said the AFL had pinpointed what counts as 'severe' contact and players are now responsible as there is 'no accidental head knock'.

Whateley said every club should 'heed' the warning from the AFL that the last three 'severe' concussion challenges were knocked back from the tribunal.

Despite the calls for a strong stance on concussion incidents, Riewoldt said he felt for Dangerfield.

Nick Riewoldt (pictured) before commentary ahead of an AFL match.
Nick Riewoldt (pictured) before an AFL match. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Riewoldt was handed a three-match ban for a bump that broke Brad Symes' jaw in 2011, but the St Kilda great challenged and had his band reduced to one game.

While understanding that players often find themselves in situations where they act 'subconsciously' to protect themselves, Riewoldt called for a change in training to teach players new methods.

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