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League acts on tweets as Roo rues 'sad day'

Date

Jared Lynch

Grounded... North Melboure's Drew Petrie (pictured) and Geelong's James Kelly have been asked to explain their criticisms.

Grounded... North Melboure's Drew Petrie (pictured) and Geelong's James Kelly have been asked to explain their criticisms. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

THE AFL has ordered North Melbourne vice-captain Drew Petrie and triple Geelong premiership player James Kelly to explain why they publicly criticised the AFL Tribunal's four-match ban on young Kangaroo Jack Ziebell.

The demand came as North coach Brad Scott described the suspension as a ''really sad day'' for football.

Scott said he had lost sleep over Ziebell's ban for rough conduct against Carlton's Aaron Joseph.

''It was a bitterly disappointing day and a really sad day in my mind for AFL football,'' he said.

''It is something that strikes at the heart of what this game is about. Since I have been involved in footy, my whole life, I have have never, ever seen a player get suspended for making the ball his sole objective, attacking the ball with ferocity, but being punished for the incidental contact that occurred because of that attitude in going for the ball.

''It's been a core fundamental of our game since the game was invented that you can attack the ball with ferocity, provided you keep your eyes on the ball the whole time and you make the ball your sole intention.''

Petrie vented his disappointment on Twitter soon after the tribunal's decision on Tuesday night, writing: ''advice for @jackziebell. Stop being so courageous and playing footy hard that way it's meant to be played. Please turn into a softy!'' And in another post: ''shaking my head''.

But it was not just the Kangaroos who jumped to Ziebell's defence. Kelly tweeted: ''I was going to tweet how Ziebell getting four weeks was a mare of a decision but decided not to so I don't get in trouble #smartkell … smart''.

The AFL said yesterday it had sent ''please explain'' letters to Petrie and Kelly.

Asked if he would be disappointed if the league sanctioned Petrie, Scott said he needed to be careful what he said because he didn't want ''lawyers sending me a letter of demand wanting me to apologise''. (Leading player manager Paul Connors was forced to publicly apologise after his strident criticism of the AFL interfering with the tribunal in the Chris Judd ''chicken wing'' tackle case.)

But Scott was keen to get his point across. ''The tribunal agreed he was contesting the ball, the match review panel agreed, the umpire officiating at the time agreed, so what they are saying now is: yep, we acknowledged he was contesting it, but did he have a reasonable alternative?

''Well, yes, he did he have reasonable alternative - he could have stopped, waited for Joseph to get the ball and tackled him.''

Asked if he thought the rules should be changed, Scott said it depended on public support.

''Perhaps we better rewrite the coaching manual. Tell players: no it's not about keeping your eyes on the ball and attacking it with ferocity, it's about making sure you don't hurt your opponent.''

Ziebell will spend the next four weeks in Utah, but Scott said it would be far from a holiday.

''Trust me, he's not going to be sunbaking by the pool all day. He's going to be training really hard.''

28 comments so far

  • What an exciting job the muppet at AFL House who reads through all the player tweets deciding which ones to sanction has! Soon no player or coach will talk to anyone for fear of lambasting!

    Commenter
    thirtyfiveblack
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    July 20, 2012, 7:22AM
    • The AFL head office attempt to stifle opinion and any challenge to its findings is reminiscent of the censorship one would expect behind the old Iron Curtain. Wake up to yourselves at AFL House.

      Commenter
      Crowin'
      Location
      Queensland
      Date and time
      July 20, 2012, 10:04AM
    • Interesting how the wider footy community have issued a 'please explain' to the AFL

      Commenter
      Captain Courageous
      Location
      Goal Square
      Date and time
      July 20, 2012, 3:09PM
  • Well done Brad Scott - you have just put back the cause of protecting the AFL & its clubs against law suits ten years.

    What part of protecting the players head don't you understand - it doesn't matter if it is accidental. The head is sacrosanct - how many times do you need to hear it?

    New coaching manual - just try new coach.

    Commenter
    Gaz
    Location
    Yarrawonga
    Date and time
    July 20, 2012, 7:41AM
    • There's this "law suit" thing called volenti non fit injuria - might want to check it out.

      Commenter
      Blurry
      Date and time
      July 20, 2012, 9:17AM
    • Gaz, the head ain't too sacrosanct in a marking contest, it is, Blue? (yes, I know this was a handball in dispute, but surely you get the point.......) And if I read the words 'head' and 'sacrosanct' in the same sentence again, then much like Terry Wallace, I WILL SPEW UP!!. (Onya, Terry)

      Commenter
      Sandy
      Location
      Sandy
      Date and time
      July 20, 2012, 9:51AM
    • Gas you muppet if the AFL really believed the head was that important that make it compulsory to wear head gear tommorrow. I don't know what your IQ is, but lets assume it's below average; "Proctecting the head" is code for "Making millions of dollars from parents (mostly Mums) in making it look like the AFL care about the welfare of players". Apart from that your comments where full of thought.

      Commenter
      Adam
      Location
      Moonee Ponds
      Date and time
      July 20, 2012, 10:57AM
    • So brainiac if the player had say broken his neck and died, does this mean Ziebel is liable for manslaughter and should go to prison. Are you suggesting that Ziebel was negligent even though it was agreed his eyes were only for the ball. Because you must believe that he was criminally negligent to suspend him and based on that anyone who is hurt by another player in the AFL must be able to be prosecuted. You must be a soccer mum or a bad lawyer!

      Commenter
      Jarrod
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      July 20, 2012, 11:04AM
    • Gaz, then why are players allowed to knee others in the head when going for a mark? They're going for the ball right? The AFL have stuffed Ziebell's decision right up and now The Great Dictator and his sidekick Waylon Smithers are determined that the players, coaches, etc don't expose just what a disgrace it was.

      Commenter
      Go Blues
      Date and time
      July 20, 2012, 11:39AM
  • AFL: Why did you criticize us on the 4 week suspension of Jack Ziebell?
    Players: Because it was wrong.
    AFL: Oh. I guess you were right then.

    Commenter
    Trumpet
    Location
    Japan
    Date and time
    July 20, 2012, 8:04AM

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