Caroline Wilson shoots down call from Scott Pendlebury: 'Not the answer'

Scott Pendlebury has floated implementing an idea from the NRL as an answer to the AFL's concussion problem.

Caroline Wilson and Scott Pendlebury.
Caroline Wilson says Scott Pendlebury's sin-bin suggestion is constructive but ultimately the wrong solution to the AFL's concussion concerns. Pictures: Channel 9/Getty Images

Veteran AFL scribe Caroline Wilson has dismissed Scott Pendlebury's suggestion of a 'sin bin' being introduced to the game, declaring it is 'not the answer' to thorny questions posed by concussion. The Collingwood champion raised the prospect after notable incidents involving Buddy Franklin and Kysaiah Pickett in round one.

Franklin and Pickett have been handed one and two match bans respectively, with their bans coming as concussion dominates the AFL conversation. Prior to round one a class action lawsuit involving more than 60 former VFL and AFL players was lodged against the AFL, while the NRL has introduced a mandatory 11-day stand-down period for concussed players.

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Geelong great Gary Ablett Sr also opened up about the long-term health effects he has battled after sustaining multiple concussions throughout his career. The AFL world is grappling with maintaining the inherently physical nature of the game while minimising head trauma.

Pendlebury was asked about Franklin and Pickett's incidents, calling on the 'outcome based' system for grading on-field incidents change to one more focused on the 'action'. The former Magpies skipper applauded the grading of the aforementioned incidents, saying it was imperative to get 'non-football actions' out of the game.

However on Monday night, Wilson told Nine News that while Pendlebury's suggestion was a constructive addition to the debate, it risked creating unnecessary layers of bureaucracy. She also called on players and coaches to show more responsibility, particularly when it came to attacking the contested ball.

“It is constructive debate but it is not the answer. It would just create a bureaucratic thicket for the AFL in terms of on field mistakes,” Wilson said. "We do not want to slow down again. Players need to be more responsible quite frankly. It is up to the coaches as well.

“And the AFL need to be more responsible as well coming down hard on players who break the rules. I think they were pretty soft on Lance Franklin and Kysaiah Pickett was lucky to only get two weeks.”

Buddy Franklin, Kysaiah Pickett handed suspensions over brutal hits

Franklin, in particular, attracted heavy scrutiny from the likes of AFL reporter Mark Robinson over his hit on Gold Coast defender Sam Collins, who had to leave the ground to undergo a concussion test. Robinson 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 said. “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?

Buddy Franklin is shoved by Gold Coast defender Sam Collins.
Buddy Franklin has copped heavy criticism over his hit on Gold Coast defender Sam Collins. (Photo by Jono Searle/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

“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.”

Meanwhile, Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin has urged Pickett to continue playing on the edge despite the livewire's instinct landing him in hot water. Pickett, who starred with four goals against the Bulldogs, left the ground and made contact with his shoulder to Smith's head, but the prolific midfielder was not seriously hurt and played out the game.

"You could see straight after he sort of checked and stopped straight away," Goodwin said. "To Bailey Smith's credit, he got up and gave Kos a tap as well, but I won't be talking to him about that."

With AAP

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