Carlton have dismissed suggestions Jacob Weitering should have undergone a head injury assessment in Friday night's thrilling AFL semi-final win over Melbourne, claiming the defender copped a knock to the throat rather than the head. Questions are being asked as to why Weitering and teammate Patrick Cripps weren't made to undergo HIAs as the Blues won 11.7 (73) to 9.17 (71) in front of 96,412 fans at the MCG.
Carlton, who haven't won an AFL premiership in 28 years, are through to their first preliminary final since 2000. As for the Demons, they are licking their wounds after a second-consecutive straight-sets exit from the finals.
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But Carlton's win didn't come without controversy, with many questioning why Cripps and Weitering didn't undergo HIAs after copping knocks to the head. Cripps went off under the blood rule after being collected in a high bump from Kysaiah Pickett, but came back on without having a concussion test.
— Chris Mellow (@thisismellow1) September 15, 2023
Later in the game, Weitering looked very wobbly on his feet and stumbled backwards when he appeared to be collected in the head by Joel Smith. Weitering was allowed to stay on the field and produced a vital intercept mark that set up Blake Acres' match-winning goal.
According to Fox Footy reporter Jon Ralph, the AFL is set to look at both incidents and the circumstances that saw them fail to undergo HIAs. Ralph reported that the Carlton doctors tried to get Weitering off the field, but couldn't.
“The AFL will ask why Jacob Weitering was not out of the game at least for a concussion test … My understanding is the Carlton doctors were trying to get him off in those frantic final moments, were not able to do that,” he said.
“He certainly looks fine in the rooms afterwards. The AFL will want to get an explanation from Carlton. They might well ask why Patrick Cripps was not taken out of the game at least for a concussion test after that hit with Kysaiah Pickett.”
But according to Carlton, there was no need for Weitering to have an HIA because he was actually hit in the throat. Blues coach Michael Voss revealed on Saturday that Weitering was struggling to breathe after the knock but given the all-clear following the game.
"He was just struggling to breathe there for a little bit," Voss told SEN. “We’re comfortable with where that sits. He got struck to his throat and he couldn’t breathe so I reckon that’s a reason to stop for a couple of seconds, I would have thought. So I think we’ll be okay there."
AFL world in uproar over Carlton concussion controversy
Luke Hodge said on Channel 7 at the time: "He was staggering on his feet after a knock. He was trying to take Smith forward and he was staggering backwards. It didn't look like much (contact), but when he got up he staggered backwards."
On Fox Footy, Jordan Lewis wasn't buying the explanation that the doctors weren't able to get Weitering off the ground. “He was clearly shaky and wobbly on his feet,” he said. “For me, that’s a sign to just get them off straight away, so I don’t accept that the doctors couldn’t get out there or they didn’t see it or whatever happened. He was clearly groggy.”
Garry Lyon added: “They’ll sort it out but that is inconsistent with that we’ve been told all year. We saw Harry McKay hardly get a touch to his head last week … it doesn’t necessarily have to be that hard. Gotta save people from themselves.”
Jonathan Brown suggested Weitering might just have been exhausted amid a pulsating finals match. “Did he wobble because of a head knock? He certainly didn’t look like he was affected several minutes after,” Brown said. “He played a good last quarter. There was nothing in it (the knock from Smith). The actual hit, he barely grazed him with the back of his head.
“Was he just absolutely fatigued and buggered? What if Jacob Weitering said ‘I was absolutely cooked and my performance in the last 15 minutes showed all my faculties were intact’, because he was magnificent. Look at the actual hit. He would look at that and say ‘he hardly touched me’. Being careful of jumping to conclusions.”
Earlier this year, Port Adelaide were hit with a $100,000 fine after Aliir Aliir didn't undergo concussion tests following a heavy knock in a collision with teammate Lachie Jones. AFL pundits and fans were blowing up on social media over the farcical scenes on Friday night.
Think the afl will ask about him and Cripps not having a test. Blues docs were trying to get weitering off but it didn’t happen
— Jon Ralph (@RalphyHeraldSun) September 15, 2023
Hopefully Cripps is automatically sent to automatic concussion protocol instead of ignoring the significance of the hit like Carlton seemed to by sending him straight back on. Weitering… same thing. We’ll certainly see how serious the AFL is about player welfare this week.
— Sandy Carty (@SandyCarty) September 15, 2023
— Ben drever (@ben_drever) September 15, 2023
If they don’t drag Weitering off the field Carlton could be in serious trouble. Absolute joke he’s still on the field!
— nath :) (@nathandg12) September 15, 2023
Perhaps you can explain why neither cripps or weitering went into concussion protocols as per AFL guidelines. Should be stripped of win . Given Maynard got off doubt anyone will ever be suspended again fair bump play on .
— Mark Haustead (@HausteadMark) September 15, 2023
It's only a fine so teams will just cop the fine if it means they're able to win the game
— arsenalfan010 (@arsenalfan010) September 15, 2023
Imagine that game tonight was round 14.. Cripps is 100% off with the concussion protocol and weitering probably 90% off with the concussion thing too.. But cos it was a final...... #AFLDeesBlues #AFLFinals #afl
— Harry Williams (@Hazman85) September 15, 2023
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