Melbourne Demons runner in hot water as Christian Petracca confirms AFL season over

The AFL has issued a 'please explain' over the actions of Reece Conca

The AFL has reportedly issued the Melbourne Demons with a 'please explain' over the actions of runner Reece Conca during a recent game. The Demons are in absolute turmoil, losing five of their last six games and Christian Petracca revealing he'll miss the rest of the season.

And on Wednesday night it emerged that Conca had landed himself in hot water over footage of him seemingly trying to distract and confuse opposition players. Mitch Cleary of Channel 7 reported that the former Richmond and Fremantle player has drawn the ire of AFL officials for calling for the ball when St Kilda was in possession in Round 11.

Melbourne Demons runner Reece Conca.
Melbourne Demons runner Reece Conca was spotted seemingly calling for the ball. Image: Channel 7

Footage captured Conca standing in between two Saints players and throwing his arms in the air in an apparent attempt to confuse the opposition. According to Cleary, the Demons and Conca have been sent a 'please explain' from AFL House and a reminder about runners interfering in play.

The issue is relatively minor but comes at the worst-possible time for the Demons. Simon Goodwin's side were thrashed by Collingwood on Monday, leaving them 10th on the ladder with a 7-6 record.

To make matters worse, the club will be without Petracca for the rest of the season after their superstar suffered broken ribs, a lacerated spleen and punctured lung on Monday. Petracca copped a knock to the side from Darcy Moore, but opted to keep playing in the second quarter after going off for a brief period.

He eventually succumbed at half-time and was transferred to hospital, where the shocking extent of his injuries were discovered. Petracca underwent surgery on his spleen and was still in the intensive care unit as of Wednesday.

Christian Petracca.
Christian Petracca was allowed to go back out onto the field against Collingwood. Image: Getty

On Thursday he revealed on social media that he won't play again this year. "Thankful for all the love and support I’ve received these past few days," he wrote alongside a photo from his hospital bed. "While my season may have come to an end, I’m grateful I still have the opportunity to give it my all again in 2025. In the meantime, Ill be cheering the boys on from the sideline."

New details have since come to light about the injuries Petracca suffered, leaving further questions about the Demons' decision to allow him back onto the field. Channel 9 reporter Tom Morris revealed on Wednesday night: “He had a blood transfusion, the surgery was so serious there were fears at one point he would lose his spleen. He was diagnosed with a grade five spleen laceration - there’s no grade six - that’s as serious as it gets. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of what’s going on - his injuries are comparable to a car crash victim’s.”


The Demons have copped plenty of backlash for allowing Petracca back onto the field, but the 28-year-old took to social media on Monday to reveal it was his call. The AFL's top medical officer has reportedly cleared the Demons' doctors for the process they took, and the club's football boss Alan Richardson has also smacked down critics.

“I want to make it clear that we have full confidence in how our medical team responded and the procedures they followed," Richardson said. "Their expertise and swift actions have been crucial in managing Christian’s injury and subsequent recovery."