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Petrie in hot water over tribunal criticism


Martin Blake

Sparking comment: Jack Ziebell.

Sparking comment: Jack Ziebell. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones

NORTH Melbourne vice-captain Drew Petrie is facing an AFL sanction over public criticism of the AFL tribunal, but the Kangaroos have accepted they can go no further in defending midfielder Jack Ziebell.

The AFL is investigating comments by Petrie posted on his Twitter account on Tuesday night after Ziebell was suspended for four matches for rough conduct. The case has caused a degree of outrage on talkback radio and in social media, but North announced yesterday it would not appeal.

AFL football operations manager Adrian Anderson backed the tribunal's decision and said league official Rod Austin was investigating whether Petrie would be sanctioned. Petrie posted on Twitter on Tuesday: ''Advice for @jackziebell. Stop being so courageous and playing footy hard the way it's meant to be played. Please turn into a softy!''

He had earlier posted a line about ''shaking my head'' at the tribunal's decision.

The AFL has fined Carlton players Jarrad Waite, Jeremy Laidler and Marc Murphy for umpire criticism on Twitter this year, and Geelong captain Joel Selwood was asked to apologise for a comment he posted about the match review panel.

Anderson said the AFL was more stringent in its application of penalties for umpire criticism than other areas. ''The tribunal is less so. We look at the nature of those comments. Are they excessive, unreasonable? That sort of thing.''

The Ziebell case attracted huge levels of negative commentary yesterday, including from former Geelong forward Cameron Mooney, who posted: ''We need to start teaching our kids when the ball is there to be won stop first make sure you don't hurt anyone than try and get it#afljoke'' Geelong midfielder James Kelly also may face a sanction over a cryptic post.

The fallout from the case caused friction between the clubs yesterday, with North unhappy at the level of detail in the Carlton doctor's report read to the tribunal and describing the injuries to Aaron Joseph, Ziebell's ''victim'' on the night.

The doctor's report referred to Joseph being diagnosed with concussion at half-time and mentioned bruising to the face, but the Kangaroos, who believed they had been generous in their public comments about the Chris Judd case, contacted the Blues to raise the issue.

North felt the doctor's comments did not help Ziebell's cause on the night. Ziebell had been offered a three-match suspension by the match review panel, but North chose to contest the case at the tribunal.

Anderson said the Ziebell decision fitted with the AFL's desire to reduce head injuries. ''We've got a firm line. If a player's got a realistic alternative to protect his opponent he should do that and that's the basis for the tribunal's decision in that case,'' he said. ''The tribunal jury's view was that he [Ziebell] could have contested it in a way that didn't cause the injury and the concussion that resulted from it.''

North Melbourne said yesterday it was ''obviously disappointed'' but added it was moving on. ''It's now important that we support Jack and reiterate we are extremely proud of the way he plays,'' said Roos' head of football, Donald McDonald.


  • IF the Tribunal or MRP think there is a reasonable alternative in contesting the ball, shouldn't they explain what that alternative is?

    Date and time
    July 19, 2012, 9:26AM
    • The AL tribunal are like Abbott and the Liberal supporters- they criticise and say what's supposed to be wrong but offer no constructive alternative.

      Date and time
      July 19, 2012, 11:49AM
    • You're spot on, i remember reading through the tribunal live chat, and there was no explanation of what the alternative was.

      Date and time
      July 19, 2012, 1:51PM
  • The all omnipotent AFL business model juggernaut continues to steamroll its employee's.
    If all businesses treated their employees the same in Australia it would be like living in WW2 Germany. The AFL needs to realize its become too big for its own boots, and let people voice their opinions and take on board the criticism constructively. The current attitude the AFL takes to all criticism is fines and public humiliation. This is no way to run a successful business and before long it will blow up in their faces. Hopefully sooner than later, as the people as a whole are sick of the way the AFL treat its players and fans.

    Date and time
    July 19, 2012, 9:35AM
    • Petrie and Mooney were right, the tribunal ballsed this one up big time. I see Jonathan Brown also made public comments saying the tribunal got it wrong.

      Does this ruling mean that players are no longer able to jump to contest for the ball if they might run into another player?

      Footy is a contact sport and collisions do happen!

      The Shadow
      Date and time
      July 19, 2012, 10:11AM
      • Jeremy Laidler criticised an umpiring decision - which the Giesch later admitted was incorrect - yet still had to pay a fine. explain that one!

        Date and time
        July 19, 2012, 2:33PM
    • I have sympathy for Drew Petrie's frustration. Michael Jamison dropped both knees into Petrie's back while Petrie was lying on the ground after taking a mark. Jamison was cleared by the MRP on the basis that North provided a favourable medical report on the impact. The umpire, a senior experienced umpire, was right on the spot when the Ziebell contest occurred and said in evidence at the Tribunal that he believed it was a contest for the ball. Inconsistencies in what constitutes fair play are frustrating for players and supporters alike.

      Megan Mogg
      Date and time
      July 19, 2012, 11:00AM
      • so the vast majority of the football public can say the Zeibell decision is a joke but a player cant?
        Sorry Emporer but your flaming naked!

        Date and time
        July 19, 2012, 11:05AM
        • Joseph was concussed and didn't play in the 2nd half... what were they expecting the doc's report to say?

          Leg Side Wizard
          Date and time
          July 19, 2012, 11:10AM
          • If the AFL fines Petrie for this, don't be surpirsed if the AFLPA think about taking some sort of industrial action. They are angry enough at how Ziebell has been treated

            Narre Warren
            Date and time
            July 19, 2012, 11:13AM

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