Melbourne's Jack Viney (number 7) collides with Tom Lynch and Alex Georgiou. Photo: afl.com.au/Fox Footy
North Melbourne coach Brad Scott does not want Jack Viney suspended over the collision that broke the jaw of Adelaide's Tom Lynch, but reckons the majority of AFL clubs will be culpable if he is.
The incident occurred early in Saturday's match at the Adelaide Oval between the Crows and Demons. Forward Lynch was leading his opponent Alex Georgiou to centre half-forward and gained possession just before Viney, who was coming from the opposite direction.
The Demons' second-year midfielder braced for the impact and made contact with his shoulder to Lynch's neck. This was followed by a forceful head clash between Lynch and Georgiou, who was tackling him from behind.
Lindsay Thomas cleans up Ben Reid well off the ball, March 31, 2013. Photo: Fox Footy
Lynch had to be substituted. He is expected to be sidelined for 4-6 weeks.
Scott, asked for his opinion on the match review panel's referring of Viney to the tribunal, said: "What I think they'll do and what I hope they'll do are probably two different things."
"I don't think Jack had time to make a decision to make a decision to tackle. He wasn't in possession of the ball, Lynch, so he really couldn't tackle him. It was a really split-second decision," the Kangaroos coach told Footy Classified.
Scott argued that Viney was now in danger of suspension because of one of his players, Lindsay Thomas, escaped suspension at the start of 2013.
In last year's opening round Thomas delivered a hefty off-the-ball bump to Collingwood's Ben Reid that forced the taller key defender from the ground with a bloodied face - not from the bump itself but from the resulting clash of heads. It was for that reason that Thomas was spared suspension, triggering angst not only from Magpies coach Nathan Buckley but also the AFL.
In December the AFL's football operations chief Mark Evans announced, following a consultation period with clubs, its rules had been amended to allow players to be charged with rough conduct for bumps where the impact is caused by a head clash.
"The 2014 guidelines will reinforce to players their duty of care when they elect to bump an opponent, and that a clash of heads is an action that could reasonably be foreseen," the AFL announced.
Scott blamed that change not only on the investigation of Viney but also on the recent rough-conduct suspensions imposed on Fremantle's Nat Fyfe and Adelaide's Richard Douglas. The suspension of Fyfe, which involved a head clash between him and Gold Coast's Michael Rischitelli, was particularly contentious.
"All clubs had the opportunity to answer this question pre season, [relating to] last year when Lindsay Thomas wasn't suspended for a bump on Ben Reid. Eight-five per cent of clubs said he should have been, because he should have been responsible for that action," Scott said.
"The Fyfe decision, the Viney decision, probably the Douglas decision, is a result of that feedback from clubs.
"I certainly didn't agree with the rule change."
Melbourne has confirmed Viney will plead not guilty to the charge at the tribunal on Tuesday evening.