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Jack Viney cleared by AFL Appeals Board

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Jack Viney suspension overturned

Melbourne's Jack Viney is available to face the Western Bulldogs this weekend after having his contentious suspension overturned.

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The AFL appeals board has cleared Jack Viney and overturned his contentious suspension, but Melbourne says it still supports the AFL's  new version of the bump rule.

The appeals board took only 14 minutes to overturn Viney's two-match suspension on Thursday evening after hearing a forceful argument that he had not bumped Adelaide's Tom Lynch, rather that he had merely ''braced'' himself for contact.

Viney will be able to play against the Bulldogs on Saturday night, as a result of the overturning of the original verdict on Tuesday, when the AFL tribunal handed Viney a two-match ban that caused outrage in the football community.

Melbourne's Jack Viney (number 7) collides with Tom Lynch and Alex Georgiou.

Melbourne's Jack Viney (number 7) collides with Tom Lynch and Alex Georgiou. Photo: afl.com.au/Fox Footy

The appeals board of Peter O'Callaghan QC, Brian Collis QC and ex-Richmond ruckman and solictor Michael Green listened to more than hour of arguments from both Viney's advocate, David Grace QC, and the lawyer acting for the AFL, Jeff Gleeson QC, who maintained that the appeal should be dismissed.

The case rested on the question - put to the appeals board by Grace - of whether Viney had in fact chosen to bump Lynch, who sustained suffered a broken jaw. The original tribunal decision was handed down by tough ex-league footballers - Wayne Schimmelbusch, Emmett Dunne and Wayne Henwood.

In his appeal for Viney, Grace continued the line that Viney had not intentionally bumped Lynch, but that he had ''braced'' to protect himself. Video footage was shown at different speeds and from various angles in an attempt to demonstrate that Viney's intent was to ''brace'' for a collision, not to bump.

Cleared: Jack Viney.

Cleared: Jack Viney. Photo: Angela Wylie

The other argument for VIney was that circumstances were outside of his control and which could not reasonably be foreseen, as he approached the ball. Much of the legal-type discussion centred on ''reasonableness'', with an old English law from the 1940s, ''Wednesbury'' introduced (by Gleeson) as part of the argument.

After the verdict was announced, Melbourne football manager Josh Mahoney said the club had taken its stand - and gone to appeal - not simply for Viney, though the club supported the new bump rule.

Mahoney said it was important to take the stand, not only on behalf of Viney, ''but the good of the game''.

''There's been some confusion about our argument for this week. We certainly weren't saying anything about the bump. We actually support the rule that if a player chooses to bump and he makes head high contact, there's a chance that he may be cited,'' Mahoney said.

''However, our argument all along was that Jack was playing an instinctive game. He had ... a very limited reaction time to make a decision and it was all in protection of himself, rather than going for a bump.

''We were very happy with the findings and very happy with the hearing that we got.

''This was never about the bump. Our argument was that Jack had no option but to protect himself in that incident.''

Mahoney said some of the rules the AFL had introduced around protecting the head were ''terrific'', but collisions were inevitable and ''accidents do happen''.

''We felt that the jury had acted unreasonably and that was the case we put forward and we're fortunate enough to have it upheld tonight.''

Mahoney said players are comfortable with the rule - that if you choose to bump, there could be consequences from the AFL judicial system.

Viney said he ''always thought I was in the right'', adding, ''I thought nothing to lose ... why not appeal it, and it ended up coming off. Yeah, I'm rapt.

''My twitter's blown up and what not and everyone's gone berserk about it. The support's just been so overwhelming, and you know not just for myself, but the game in general. It's been a good result and everyone's shown their passion for it.''

Viney said the verdict had cleared up some of the confusion about bumping. ''Yeah, I think so ... people just putting themselves in a contested situations - it's not what you want to see going out of the game, you know. We'll just go back to normal now that it's all good.''

VIney said he was ''absolutely'' fine to play this weekend. ''It's been a really stressful couple of days but ... it's a challenge, but I'm really confident I'll be able to just calm down the next couple of days and just focus really heavily on my performance.

''There's lawyers in there talking lawyer talk, and I've got no idea what's going on and I was glad for David Grace to say well done, you won ... it did take me a while to register.'' 

The appeals board took only 14 minutes to overturn Viney's two-match suspension on Thursday evening after hearing a forceful argument that he had not bumped Adelaide's Tom Lynch, rather that he had merely ''braced'' himself for contact.

Viney will be able to play against the Bulldogs on Saturday night, as a result of the overturning of the original verdict on Tuesday, when the AFL tribunal handed Viney a two-match ban that caused outrage in the football community.

The appeals board of Peter O'Callaghan QC, Brian Collis QC and ex-Richmond ruckman and solictor Michael Green listened to more than hour of arguments from both Viney's advocate, David Grace QC, and the lawyer acting for the AFL, Jeff Gleeson QC, who maintained that the appeal should be dismissed.

The case rested on the question - put to the appeals board by Grace - of whether Viney had in fact chosen to bump Lynch, who sustained a broken jaw. The original tribunal decision was handed down by tough ex-league footballers - Wayne Schimmelbusch, Emmett Dunne and Wayne Henwood.

In his appeal for Viney, Grace continued the line that Viney had not intentionally bumped Lynch, but that he had ''braced'' to protect himself. Video footage was shown at different speeds and from various angles in an attempt to demonstrate that Viney's intent was to ''brace'' for a collision, not to bump.

The other argument for VIney was that circumstances were outside of his control and which could not reasonably be foreseen, as he approached the ball. Much of the legal-type discussion centred on ''reasonableness'', with an old English law from the 1940s, ''Wednesbury'' introduced (by Gleeson) as part of the argument.

After the verdict was announced, Melbourne football manager Josh Mahoney said the club had taken its stand - and gone to appeal - not simply for Viney, though the club supported the new bump rule.

Mahoney said it was important to take the stand, not only on behalf of Viney, ''but the good of the game''.

''There's been some confusion about our argument for this week. We certainly weren't saying anything about the bump. We actually support the rule that if a player chooses to bump and he makes head high contact, there's a chance that he may be cited,'' Mahoney said.

''However, our argument all along was that Jack was playing an instinctive game. He had ... a very limited reaction time to make a decision and it was all in protection of himself, rather than going for a bump.

''We were very happy with the findings and very happy with the hearing that we got.

''This was never about the bump. Our argument was that Jack had no option but to protect himself in that incident.''

Mahoney said some of the rules the AFL had introduced around protecting the head were ''terrific'', but collisions were inevitable and ''accidents do happen''.

''We felt that the jury had acted unreasonably and that was the case we put forward and we're fortunate enough to have it upheld tonight.''

Mahoney said players are comfortable with the rule - that if you choose to bump, there could be consequences from the AFL judicial system.

Viney said he ''always thought I was in the right'', adding, ''I thought nothing to lose ... why not appeal it, and it ended up coming off. Yeah, I'm rapt.

''My twitter's blown up and what not and everyone's gone berserk about it. The support's just been so overwhelming, and you know not just for myself, but the game in general. It's been a good result and everyone's shown their passion for it.''

Viney said the verdict had cleared up some of the confusion about bumping. ''Yeah, I think so ... people just putting themselves in a contested situations - it's not what you want to see going out of the game, you know. We'll just go back to normal now that it's all good.''

VIney said he was ''absolutely'' fine to play this weekend. ''It's been a really stressful couple of days but ... it's a challenge, but I'm really confident I'll be able to just calm down the next couple of days and just focus really heavily on my performance.

''There's lawyers in there talking lawyer talk, and I've got no idea what's going on and I was glad for David Grace to say well done, you won ... it did take me a while to register.'' 

29 comments

  • what a farce - the rule is or was until now - if a player chooses to bump and makes head contact they should be reported, the penalty was also be extended dependant on injury, in this a broken jaw.
    Whether he meant it or not accordingly to the rule does not come into it or didn't until now. I hope fyfe and about 5 others this year who accidentally bumped will receive an apology, or is this rule just for the Melbourne fc and or the private school brigade??

    Commenter
    Genghis
    Location
    Lounge
    Date and time
    May 08, 2014, 7:06PM
    • .
      Don't go for Melbourne but i disagree... because of the way Lynch was driven forward by Georgiou it looked like Viney was caught off guard, largely due to the increased momentum of Lynch
      And all happened in about 2 seconds..

      Commenter
      guido999
      Date and time
      May 08, 2014, 7:51PM
    • It's been replayed enough for you to see, Viney wasn't the one who made contact to his head. His jaw was broken when it hit Georgious head. Their was no malice or intent to hurt by anyone. Viney executed a perfect hip and shoulder, his arm was tucked into his side as per the rules

      Commenter
      Go Blues
      Date and time
      May 08, 2014, 7:55PM
    • He did not choose to bump, he chose to protect himself. Those who have played the game are a little more at peace after this correct overturn of the original decision...

      Commenter
      Mark
      Date and time
      May 08, 2014, 7:56PM
    • You have completely contradicted yourself here. To say that Viney 'chose' to bump implies that he meant it. Jack 'chose' to protect himself and a bump resulted accidentally due to the way both players were running. Accusing the AFL of favouritism to Melbourne is novel though. Remember being fined despite being found not guilty of tanking?

      Commenter
      Dean
      Date and time
      May 08, 2014, 8:00PM
    • Your letter is poorly constructed and using the Fyfe incident as a comparison shows you are either fishing or you have no idea.
      So, which one is it?

      Commenter
      Tom Wills
      Location
      Richmond
      Date and time
      May 08, 2014, 8:08PM
    • @Genghis.....go back to Mongolia....you know nothing about Aussie Rules

      Commenter
      Clutching@Straws
      Date and time
      May 08, 2014, 8:12PM
    • Genghis, your mythical MFC "private school brigade" didn't save Jack Trengove a few years back...

      Commenter
      Mark
      Date and time
      May 08, 2014, 8:13PM
    • absolutely agree ..the right decision was made originally .... then suddenly changed because he says he didn't mean to bump ... what a joke .... the video makes it obvious he was not just tensing for a collision ... It's who you know and if you can get the press to get onboard ... if a panel of QCs can't interpret the rules correctly what the hell do you do?

      Commenter
      pablo
      Date and time
      May 08, 2014, 8:41PM
    • I heard a rumour that any player that has a serious chance of stopping Ablett from winning another Brownlow will get off any charge.

      Commenter
      Real DC
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 08, 2014, 8:46PM

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