The AFL world is once again in uproar after Brisbane's Jarrod Berry was reported for rough conduct during the Lions' win over Sydney on Friday night. Off the back of a number of controversial tackles winding up at the tribunal, Berry had his number taken for his tackle on Swans rival Will Hayward.
Commentators were left in disbelief after Berry was not only penalised with a free kick against him for a dangerous tackle, but was reported by the umpire. Hayward had been spun around in the tackle but didn't appear to have been slammed into the turf.
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Commentator and AFL great Matthew Richardson could only reply with 'I give up' when asked about the motion, declaring it was nowhere near the level of ferocity that saw Richmond's Nathan Broad banned for four weeks earlier in the season. Commentary colleague Luke Hodge was in agreement, saying he had 'no idea' what Berry was meant to have done.
The report comes after Hawthorn's James Sicily was rubbed out for three weeks after his tackle on Hugh McCluggage last round left the Lions star with a concussion. St Kilda's Dan Butler, on the other hand, had his one-week ban for tackling Sydney's Nick Blakey thrown out after appealing at the Tribunal.
Jarrod Berry has been reported for rough conduct.....
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“We know the ones we don’t want – the Nathan Broad one earlier in the year and he got four weeks for that. That was a clear tackle and sling and dump to the ground and we don’t want that,” Richardson said.
“He’s a fierce competitor (Berry). In the moment, you’ve got to go from fierce competitor to being gentle in a split second – you can’t! You can’t switch your mindset like that so quickly.
“I don’t see that as a dump at all. They are both spinning around.”
Channel 7 commentator Brian Taylor was aghast at both the free kick and Berry's subsequent report. He argued there was always a level of risk in playing a contact sport.
“If we keep going at this rate, there’ll be no tackling by the end of 2024-25,” he said. "When you play this game, surely you sign up for a dangerous game.
"You are not a tiler, laying tiles in a safe environment. It is a dangerous, physically brutal, one-on-one sport and that is the most appealing thing about it.”
Swans finals hopes all but done as Sam Wicks placed on report
Berry wasn't the only player to have his number in the umpire's book by the end of the night, with Sydney's Sam Wicks booked for a high bump and strike that looks to be a slam dunk suspension. Wicks had left his feet and collected Ryan Lester in the head with his elbow well after the Lions player had disposed of the ball.
Lions players were quick to remonstrate with Wicks as the umpire pleaded for calm, noting that he had been placed on report. The act left commentators baffled, as it was a clear action the AFL has been making a point of trying to stamp out in recent seasons.
“You shake your head, I’m still trying to work out why he jumped and why he raised his elbow,” Hawthorn great Jordan Lewis told Fox Footy. “No matter how hard you hit, it’s a position on your body that’s not well protected.”
Garry Lyon suggested Wicks would be certainly be banned for one week, 'maybe two for stupidity'. Fortunately for the Lions and potentially Wicks, Lester was able to get up and play out the game free from immediate concussion concerns.
Brisbane bounced back from their shock upset at the hands of Hawthorn last week, recording a 13.19.97 to 12.9.81 win, withstanding an early onslaught from the Swans to bank their ninth win of the season. It came after veterans Daniel Rich and Jack Gunston requested to be dropped earlier in the week.
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