'Just ridiculous': AFL world erupts over divisive bump ban

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·Sports Reporter
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The AFL Tribunal will hear a challenge from St Kilda ruckman Paddy Ryder over the two-week ban he earned for this hit on Hawthorn's Will Day. Pictures: Getty Images/AFL
The AFL Tribunal will hear a challenge from St Kilda ruckman Paddy Ryder over the two-week ban he earned for this hit on Hawthorn's Will Day. Pictures: Getty Images/AFL

St Kilda will challenge the two-match ban handed to ruckman Paddy Ryder over an incident last weekend which left Hawthorn's Will Day nursing a concussion.

After launching a kick through the middle of the ground, Day continued forward and crashed into the hulking Ryder, who had braced for the contact.

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Day was subsequently subbed out of the game and will miss this week's Easter Monday clash against Geelong as he sits out due to the AFL's concussion protocols.

Ryder was on Monday charged with rough conduct, with his actions assessed by the match review officer as careless conduct, high impact and high contact.

St Kilda coach Brett Ratten said post-match the bump looked "pretty fair" after watching replays of the incident.

The ban left many AFL observers disappointed, with many believing Ryder hadn't gone out of his way to bump day, rather he had simply held his ground where he stood.

Many former players have been divided on the ban, with the likes of Nathan Buckley declaring the AFL will have 'got too soft' if the incident resulted in a suspension, while Tim Watson said he was unsurprised Ryder was rubbed out.

He said that while it was obvious Ryder hadn't intended to injure Day and that the play itself wasn't necessarily unsporting, the AFL's stringent protection of player's heads remained sacrosanct.

“I wasn’t surprised that he got cited and I wasn’t surprised that he got penalised,” he said on SEN radio on Tuesday.

“My understanding is, if you make contact with somebody in the head in the act of bumping, then you will then pay the price.

“There was nothing malicious in it, there was nothing vicious in it, in that last second he probably tried to avoid the contact.

“The game is asking him to make a decision before (the hit), and approach it in a different way.”

Saints await crucial tribunal challenge over Paddy Ryder bump

Hawks players remonstrated with Ryder after the collision, which coach Sam Mitchell said left Day "a bit battered ... a bit sore and sorry for himself".

The Saints ran away with a thumping win over the Hawks to improve to a 3-1 record, but skipper Jack Steele is all too aware of the challenges posed by a potential Ryder absence.

He said it was on players to make sure they avoided putting themselves in situations where they might inadvertently run afoul of the match review panel.

"At the end of the day, I suppose, it's a player's choice whether they bump or not," Steele said.

"You just can't get them high, can't get them in the head.

"Paddy went for the bump and it was a bit unlucky."

Many fans took to social media to debate whether or not the bump and subsequent two-week ban was fair.

If suspended, Ryder will miss games against Gold Coast and GWS, with mature-age recruit Jack Hayes in line to return as his replacement.

"What we love from Paddy is obviously his tap work but his follow-up as a ruckman as well is so crucial," Steele said.

"Being a physical player in the contest is something that he's really good at and he makes us all walk taller when he does it."

With AAP

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