Dual premiership Kangaroos great David King has blasted the current penalties in place for brutal head-high bumps, believing short bans are “not a deterrent” for players.
King has appealed for the AFL to throw out its current match review matrix in regards to head contact, after Melbourne’s Kysaiah Pickett copped just two weeks for his bump on Bulldog Bailey Smith while Swan Lance Franklin was offered a one-match ban for his contact with Sun Sam Collins.
“I reckon it’s a bit like Retro Round what we’ve seen this round and it’s disappointing to say that for all the work we’ve done with protecting the head, and all the issues we’ve got with past players re. concussion and head trauma and life-altering situations they’re in at the moment – we’re going to court in one shape or another (and) it’s going to cost us millions of dollars – nothing’s changed,” he said on First Crack.
Watch every blockbuster AFL match this weekend Live & Ad-Break Free In-Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
“Absolutely nothing’s changed.
“You’ve got Kossie Pickett spearing in with genuine intent to hurt and that gets two weeks. It should be three minimum and if he knocks the player out, it would be six, seven or eight.
“You’ve got Buddy Franklin who goes past the football, seeking contact with the head of an opponent who gets one week.
“It’s not even a deterrent. One week? Buddy’d take a week off just to spell and reload and go again.”
Depleted Giants pull off Crows upset | 01:24
Discussing Sunday’s brutal bump from Shane McAdam that saw young Giant Jacob Wehr hit the turf, King said those types of collisions are simply “the old days”.
“Shane McAdam sets himself, launches and takes a player out in the most cruel fashion,” King lamented.
“Everyone saying ‘Oh but it’s a perfect hit’ – that’s the old days.
“Those days are gone.
“Until we take this seriously from a punishment point of view, right now there is no deterrent.
“And I don’t care what your matrix says – ‘oh, we can only upgrade here to intentional, do this and do that, risk of causing injury’ – the risk of causing injury is taking us to court!
“When will the penny drop for the MRO or the AFL that we’ve got 200 past players suing the AFL because they cannot live their lives in a meaningful way at 50-plus.”
McAdam’s devastating hit on Wehr | 00:36
King said it was time the AFL took head knocks into a completely separate penalty category in the Match Review.
“Why don’t they just take head knocks onto its own matrix?” he said.
“It gives Michael Christen the ability to say under the matrix it’s two but we’ve got to take a stance and give it four.
“Some of these hits are very savage and going into those bumps, they don’t know what’s coming out of the other side.
“One week for Buddy? I mean c’mon!”
Ban likely for Buddy after careless shot | 02:01
Fellow First Crack panellist Leigh Montagna agreed the bumps seen in Round 1 were something of years gone by.
“We haven’t seen acts like that for a while where players have deliberately chosen to leave their feet and launch at someone,” he said.
“It was a real surprise (Pickett’s two-game ban) so he’s a lucky boy he’s only got two weeks.”