Scott Pendlebury's admission about Lachie Neale as AFL world debates ugly incident

Pendlebury faces an unwanted career first after the contentious act.

Collingwood veteran Scott Pendlebury admits he got "sucked in" to retaliation after being caught hitting out at Brisbane star Lachie Neale during the Magpies' 20-point win on Thursday night. The Pies finally got their AFL season off and running, snapping their three-game losing streak and leaving the Lions still without victory after a scrappy 14.8 (92) to 10.12 (72) victory in the grand final rematch at the Gabba.

Pendlebury could find himself in trouble though after footage captured him lashing out at Neale in an off-the-ball incident that saw the Lions co-captain keel over in pain. The incident happened in the third quarter of the contest, as Pendlebury reacted to something from Neale by giving him an open-handed slap to the stomach.

Seen here, Scott Pendlebury hits out at Lachie Neale in the AFL grand final rematch.
Scott Pendlebury admits he got sucked in to retaliating against Lachie Neale in the AFL grand final rematch. Pic: Getty

The Collingwood veteran has never once been suspended in his 387-game career but potentially faces that unwanted first, depending how the incident is viewed by the match review officer. Based off similar recent incidents it's perhaps more likely that the 36-year-old will be hit with a fine instead of a suspension, which would keep his clean disciplinary record in tact.

Scott Pendlebury sorry for retaliating against Lachie Neale

Speaking after the match, Pendlebury said he'd apologised to Neale over the incident, with the Lions star telling him that he'd been fined previously for a similar indiscretion. “He said he got a fine for a similar thing after the game,” Pendlebury told Channel 7 post-match.

“I said sorry to him, I didn’t mean to get him right there. What will be will be, retaliator always gets caught, Mum taught me that, I got sucked in tonight. Whether Pendlebury should be fined or suspended has been hotly debated across the AFL world, with Geelong legend Joel Selwood indicating that a clean record won't necessarily work in Pendlebury's favour.

AFL world debates Scott Pendlebury incident

“I think he’d have a pretty clean record but it doesn’t come down to that in this day and age," Selwood said on Fox Footy. “So I’m not exactly sure what will happen but I’m sure it’ll be looked at throughout the week.” CODE Sports’ Lachlan McKirdy wrote on X: “I don’t even get what Pendlebury is trying to do there? He hasn’t disguised it at all. It’s just silly from Pendles. Why do it? It should only be a fine but you don’t expect that from your most experienced player.”


SEN’s Sam Edmund suggested on X that the Pendlebury hit probably did warrant suspension but because of the precedent set by previous incidents, he'll likely get off with a fine. “This is where the AFL ties itself in knots," Edmund posted.

"Had the chance to suspend George Hewett and botched it. Didn’t suspend Neale for a retaliation strike either. So Scott Pendlebury can’t go for that can he? Both incidents while waiting at a stoppage.”

St Kilda great Leigh Montagna told Fox Footy he'd be happy for Pendlebury to just cop a fine and said it showed what breaking his side's winless run meant to the Collingwood veteran. “I think something like that, he might be getting a bit of a fine coming his way and hopefully that’s all," Montagna said. “It just shows what this means to both these teams that he’s prepared to do that.”

Pictured here, Collingwood's Scott Pendlbury being tackled Lachie Neale.
Collingwood's Scott Pendlbury is seen here being tackled Lachie Neale during the AFL win over Brisbane. Pic: Getty

Brisbane Lions winless but refusing to panic

Brisbane, who lost by four points to Collingwood in last year's grand final, are now 0-3 in their worst start to a season since they lost their first eight games in 2018. The Lions' run to last year's decider also featured an unbeaten season at the Gabba but they're now 0-2 after losing at home in Opening Round against Carlton.

Lions coach Chris Fagan says while it's not ideal, it's far too early in the season for his side to panic. "There's 20 (rounds) to go, isn't there? A long way to go," he said. "We've got a bit of work to do, to find ourselves. You're making it sound like we're 0-13. It's not a great start, but let's not catastrophise it either, would be the way I'd look at it. I don't want to buy into that just yet."

Fagan lamented dropped marks, too many handballs and an inability to convert an inside-50 count that read 56-43 in their favour but said there were no "obvious" answer to their struggles. "That's consistency, isn't it? There's a lot of green on this stat sheet and that's been the frustrating thing about it," Fagan added. "Normally when we win inside-50s we win, but for some reason or other we're not. The answer's not obvious."

with AAP