Buddy Franklin cops spray from Mark Robinson as AFL 'cheap shots' called out

The Swans star has been savaged as debate rages in the AFL world about the contentious issue.

Pictured right to left, AFL 360 co-host Mark Robinson and Sydney Swans star Buddy Franklin.
AFL 360 co-host Mark Robinson says Buddy Franklin has a history of bumps after calling on the game to stamp out 'cheap shots'. Pic: Getty/Fox Footy

AFL 360 co-host Mark Robinson says Swans superstar Lance 'Buddy' Franklin was fully deserving of a ban after weighing in angrily on the debate around bumps that has dominated the opening round of the season. Several players were on the receiving end of brutal hits in round one of the AFL, with Franklin among those players to be banned or sent straight to the tribunal, in the case of Shane McAdam.

Franklin and Melbourne's Kysaiah Pickett both accepted one and two-match bans respectively for bumps on Sam Collins and Bailey Smith, respectively. McAdam could find himself in even more trouble after flattening GWS player Jacob Wehr with a sickening high shot on Sunday.

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The spate of round one incidents have sparked calls for the AFL to crack down harder on these type of incidents, in an age where player welfare and concerns around concussion are at the forefront of professional sport. Collingwood icon Scott Pendlebury floated the idea of introducing a sin bin in the AFL, as a way of stamping out some of the uglier incidents in the game.

However, Robinson went even further and argued that anyone who leaves their feet and makes high or illegal contact with an opposition player, should automatically face a harsh penalty. Labelling them "cheap shots", the AFL 360 co-host said they were a horrible look for the game.

“They’re cheap shots, they’re sh*t shot actually. Kids sitting at home, don’t do that,” he said on AFL 360. “Footy’s a hard game, it’s a tough game to play.

“Jumping off the ground and hitting people who can’t protect themselves... it’s a bit cowardly actually. It is a cheap shot. ‘I’ll do it, knowing I can’t get hurt. I’ll have maximum ability to hurt that person’.

Mark Robinson lashes Buddy Franklin

Robinson then took aim at Franklin after accusing the Swans superstar of having previous form when it comes to bumps. He said rather than bemoan the fact that Buddy has been sidelined over his latest incident, sympathy should instead be extended to the player on the receiving end of his bump.

“Franklin’s been doing that for 15 years. I’m glad he’s got a week," Robinson added. “Everyone says it’s unfortunate Buddy might miss – what about it’s unfortunate Sam Collins had to leave the field and get a concussion test?

“It’s never unfortunate for the people Franklin hits. I’m glad that (MRO) Michael Christian has upgraded (the bumps). I’m glad there’s so much discussion. Lower leagues, don’t do that to players. Those days are gone.

“Play tough football otherwise. Send a message from the top through all the leagues: That is not acceptable and we’re not putting up with it anymore. In the split second... sometimes they can’t be avoidable. But then you have bumps like that that can be avoidable.”

Sydney's Buddy Franklin and Melbourne''s Kysaiah Pickett were both guilty of high shots in round one of the AFL season. PIctures: Fox Footy
Sydney's Buddy Franklin and Melbourne''s Kysaiah Pickett were both guilty of high shots in round one of the AFL season. PIctures: Fox Footy

Robinson's co-host Gerard Whateley also weighed in on the debate by questioning the logic behind grading bumps on levels of severity, based on the damage done to the player. He argued that punches are completely outlawed in the game regardless of how bad they are, yet some bumps are deemed legal if the opposition player walks away unscathed.

“It’s an interesting nuance between McAdam and Pickett where I think the action is the same, we would agree, but the base point is medium impact because Jacob Wehr was taken from the field and he was put into the concussion protocols,” he said. “The baseline for Kossie Pickett was low because Bailey Smith bounced straight back up, didn’t receive any medical attention and played on undeterred.

“A punch will always be illegal whereas a bump can be legal – it’s when it goes wrong that it tips over. Those actions from McAdam and Pickett can only end one way – they are illegal in their nature launching yourself forward.”

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