Sunday, September 25, 2022

Latest Posts

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan says Patrick Cripps should NOT have won Brownlow medal after heavy punch

Patrick Cripps clinched the venerable Brownlow medal on Sunday night but AFL chief Gillon McLachlan believes the Carlton star should not have won.

The Charles Brownlow medal not only shows who is the best player but also the fairest – and Cripps was suspended for two games towards the end of the season after Brisbane star Callum Ah Chee suffered concussion from a high, serious bump .

With Carlton’s season at stake, the club rolled the dice and appealed the ruling – and managed to overturn the ban after a four-and-a-half hour Appeals Committee hearing.

The decision outraged many at the time, including McLachlan.

“People know that I was very upset by this decision (Appellate Committee),” he said in a story published on AFL Record this week.

“It made no sense to me in any way and it’s frustrating that a legal view of due process or procedural fairness – utter nonsense – really influences a clear mandate to protect the head.”

In the Round 21 incident that saw the Lions beat Carlton by 33 points, Cripps leapt off his feet to nudge a vulnerable Ah Chee in a fight for the ball and collected him in the head, causing him a concussion.

His solicitor, Chris Townshend QC, was able to clear Cripps of a technical matter related to “procedural fairness” – and McLachlan said the successful appeal undid much of the AFL’s hard work protecting a player’s head.

“We confused our supporters and set ourselves back and that really frustrates me,” McLachlan said of the decision.

Almost everyone in the footy world – apart from Carlton – slammed the idea; from former players to fans to current players.

The North Melbourne legend-turned-commentator David King said he was “staggered” when Cripps was sacked.

“It goes against everything we’ve talked about for the last three to four years about head protection. ‘I was stunned.’ King said on SEN at the time.

“When you can have something that important that protects the head, and supports a clear statement from the MRO and from the tribunal, and then the player walks out on legal grounds and nobody really understands what the hell happened, I find that challenging. ‘

Even Richmond star Jack Riewoldt condemned the decision to sack Cripps, saying it could “open a can of worms” for other players in the future.

As it turned out, that four and a half hour hearing earned Cripps the Brownlow Medal.

A suspension would not only have declared him unfit to win; The Carlton midfielder scored three votes in the last game of the season to overtake pre-voted favorite Lachie Neale by just one vote.

That was a point not lost on many, as a number of high-profile footy identities suggested Cripps’ attorney deserved a Brownlow Medal of his own.

But all history books – and Wikipedia entries – will say that the 2022 Brownlow Medal winner was Patrick Cripps by 29 votes.

Neale, at 28, will forever be the runner-up after one of the closest counts in history; with Gold Coast star Touk Miller third with 27 votes and Dockers star Andrew Brayshaw and Melbourne Gun Clayton Oliver fourth with 25 votes each.

Cripps refused to bite over McLachlan’s remarks when asked about Brownlow at a news conference Monday morning, simply saying he’d had the night of his life.

“It’s been a long night, but it’s all worth it. It was great fun … you can tell my eyes I kept my eyes on the Earl last night,” laughed an exhausted but ecstatic Cripps.

Latest Posts

Don't Miss