Lyon gives tribunal a nudge

Ross Lyon says the overall intention of AFL rules can not be ignored.
Ross Lyon says the overall intention of AFL rules can not be ignored.

AMID the controversy that continues in AFL circles in regards to “the bump”, Fremantle coach Ross Lyon says that the overall intention for the rules being in place cannot be ignored.

And despite a couple of nervous days as livewire Docker Hayden Ballantyne faced a ban of up to three weeks after being reported for rough conduct on Sunday against Adelaide, Lyon doesn’t think the review process is necessarily wrong.

Ballantyne was forced to front the AFL tribunal after Crow Matt Jaench came off second best from a contest between the two at Patersons Stadium on Sunday.

But after his key attacker was found not guilty on Tuesday night, Lyon said he was confident in the process.

“Incidents are going to occur; we're all human, we're all going to be actioning things and they don't always come out how you want,” he said.

“And there's lots of grey area in AFL footy, so everything is opened to interpretation. So when you need clarity, we have the right mechanisms in place so everyone gets a fair hearing.

“There has been an appeal process with (Jack) Viney, it has gone to the tribunal here, there is MRP (Match Review Panel). I think the mechanisms on the surface seem to be working quite well.

“I think their (MRP) hands are tied, but it might be the right way. If it doesn't fit the parameters, refer it to the tribunal.

“So I think common sense is now prevailing a little bit, which is really good.”

Lyon said he was not confused as to what players could and couldn’t do in relation to the bump and said that it was important that the goals of the AFL were not lost sight of when discussing the merits of the rules.

“The intention is to look after players’ health and safety in terms of concussion, so it's a great goal to have,” he said.

“And it’s a really honourable objective and an important one because we want to see young Aus-kickers playing our game - so let's not get too flippant with why it is in (the bump rule) and lose sight of it.

“So the intention is really healthy and the aim of our game is really healthy, but at the highest level there is some grey areas and we're all working through that.”

Lyon said that allowing the MRP some scope in interpreting what the players' intentions are at a contest may allow it to make correct decision without having to refer incidents to the tribunal.

"If there's going to be a review, they need some flexibility in their gradings and interpretations, I think," he said.

"As much as I think they may have wanted to say he was contesting the ball, like the decisions been made, they haven't got the scope for that, I think.

"So therefore they did the right thing and referred it to the tribunal."

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  • This story Lyon gives tribunal a nudge first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.