AFL great Wayne Carey believes Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe 'absolutely' had more leeway from the match review panel than Richmond ruckman Toby Nankervis with their respective elbows.
Nankervis was on Monday offered a one-game ban for swinging his arm back and hitting Adelaide's David Mackay, a suspension he accepted on Tuesday.
The panel graded the incident as careless conduct with medium impact to the head, which carried a two-game sanction before the early plea.
Fyfe's similar elbow to West Coast's Elliot Yeo, however, was graded careless with low impact to the head.
That drew a $1500 sanction, which was reduced to $1000 on Tuesday when the Dockers skipper submitted an early plea.
While Essendon champion Tim Watson suggested Fyfe was "a bit lucky" due to the camera angles of his clash compared to Nankervis's elbow, Carey went a step further in his explanation.
"One's a superstar, one's a Brownlow medallist," the North Melbourne premiership captain said.
"Absolutely I think the stars of the competition get more leeway than other players … Yes, to a degree they are (protected)."
"They (the MRP) want the good players out there playing. That's a line ball. If Nankervis gets a week, then I reckon Fyfe gets a week."
Watson returned serve by labelling Carey's accusations "disrespectful to the match review panel", but two-time Brownlow medallist Chris Judd this morning agreed with Carey – with a catch.
Judd said stars, by virtue of the attention they get from opponents, deserve lighter sentences for such incidents as Fyfe's elbow.
“In fairness, Nat Fyfe, every week he has got the whole opposition team running in and elbowing him in the back whenever he is not looking," he said on Triple M radio.
“I think it is fair we give them a little bit more leeway.”
Carey cited Swans star Lance Franklin as a player who has benefited in the recent past.
He said it "goes way back to the '90s", with Watson joking that Carey felt this way because he was not suspended when he perhaps should have been during his playing career.