AFL great Kane Cornes has come out in defence of Brayden Maynard and slammed the league's argument as the Collingwood star escaped punishment for his collision with Angus Brayshaw. Both Nathan Buckley and Cornes have taken aim at the AFL this week in questioning the precedent it would set to ban Maynard for attempting the smother the ball on the weekend against the Demons, before clattering into Brayshaw.
And on Tuesday night, after a four-hour hearing, Maynard escaped punishment for his airborne smother attempt and will be free to play for Collingwood in the preliminary final next week. The AFL confirmed on Wednesday it won't appeal the decision. Unfortunately, Brayshaw will miss Melbourne's semi-final against Carlton and if they advance he will be a doubt the following week due to the head knock.
'DELICATE': Ross Lyon lifts the lid on Tim Membrey situation
The tribunal decision pleased Collingwood fans and AFL analyst Cornes praised the decision. After the announcement he tweeted: 'Never in doubt'.
Cornes blasted the league's suggestions that Maynard could have attempted to avoid contact and jumped upwards. He pointed out that the slow-mo didn't show just how fast Maynard reacted in the moment.
“Does he (Woods) not understand the trajectory of running at 22 kms an hour? You can’t run that fast, stop then jump upright. Clearly your momentum is going to carry you forward,” Cornes said on SEN Radio of the case against Maynard.
“It’s one of the more ridiculous arguments I’ve heard. That’s not personal, that’s just my view. Have you played the game? Have you run full speed trying to do the same thing or are you just watching it in slow-mo on a TV screen?”
On Monday, Cornes questioned what Maynard could have done to avoid the contact. “You watch it frame-by-frame, he is running flat out and he’s jumping in the air. He cannot disappear," he said.
“I haven’t seen any past player of note come out and say he should be suspended because you are understanding in that moment that this is finals football and if you’re not going flat out you’re going to be criticised. When you do go flat out you can’t just disappear. You actually have to brace and half protect yourself otherwise you both get knocked out."
Dane Swan took to social media and said the whole incident around whether you should not attempt a smother because it may be unsafe is 'ridiculous'.
Whether he gets suspended or not the fact the AFL are now saying you cannot attempt a smother because it may be unsafe may be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard https://t.co/wfhx1RZ9WH
— Dane Swan (@swandane) September 12, 2023
Collingwood's Brayden Maynard escapes punishment
Cornes echoed Collingwood's decision to call upon a biomechanics and neuroscience expert to give evidence that Maynard was highly unlikely to have had enough time to make a decision to bump. AFL counsel Andrew Woods maintained instead of turning his body, Maynard should have either put his hands out to cushion the blow or opened up his arms to collect Brayshaw.
But even if Maynard had done either of those things, Woods conceded it might have still resulted in a reportable offence. But the AFL Tribunal of chairman Jeff Gleeson, Scott Stevens and Darren Gaspar found Maynard's actions were "reasonable".
"He committed to the act of smothering when he was ... several metres from Brayshaw," Gleeson said in his findings.
"We are not at all satisfied that a reasonable player would have foreseen that violent impact, or impact of the type suffered by Brayshaw, was inevitable or even likely."
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.