AFL cracks down on bad tackles, staging - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL cracks down on bad tackles, staging

By Roger Vaughan 02/02/2010 06:39:08 PM Comments (0)

All the AFL world's not a stage and the tribunal now has the power to crack down on players who want to act.

The league has introduced fines for players who "stage" for free kicks as part of their annual review of the tribunal system.

Apart from the penalty, the league hopes the inevitable media spotlight will also deter players from the practice.

Umpiring director Jeff Gieschen and outgoing match review panel chairman Andrew McKay said clubs had urged the league to take action on staging.

There is a feeling the practice had become more common last season.

"That was one of the overwhelming things that kept coming back - coaches felt that staging was a blight on the game, wasn't in the spirit of the game," Gieschen said.

"It also serves to create melees at times because players who don't see it clearly think something has happened and they come in.

"The coaches drove, pretty much, that we needed to look at that situation."

A player will receive a written reprimand for a first offence and that will remain for the rest of his career.

A second offence will carry an $1800 fine, reduced to $1200 for an early plea, while a third offence will carry a $2400 or $1800 penalty.

Gieschen said the match review panel would usually report players for staging, as it is often hard for umpires during a game to tell if an incident is genuine or faked.

He said the league would not target players, but admits they hope the adverse publicity for a staging report will make stagers think twice.

"That public naming and, I suppose, shaming, as you call it, of guys who continually stage - we think that will act as a really strong deterrent," he said.

"Through the ages, we've tended to know which players do throw themselves around a bit and I think this is a bit of a wake-up call ... let's just get on with the game."

Other tribunal changes included:

* The rough conduct rules expanded to specifically cover sling and spear tackles, plus bumping the player on the mark.

* The definitions of eye gouging and head-butting have broadened, plus the league have increased the seriousness of those offences.

* A greater financial penalty for umpire abuse. The league is concerned that abuse is causing a 25 per cent turnover of umpires at lower levels of the game.

* The league will not report players in intra-club games, except for incidents involving umpires.

West Coast coach John Worsfold welcomed the staging penalties, but said it was not an issue for the Eagles.

"It's going to take a lot to knock us over, we're fair dinkum," he said.

"No one's happy to see it - if it's now a chance to be penalised I don't think we'll see it at all.

"In the past players have known there's no penalty for it and you might get a free kick, so there was no down side, but there is now.

"I think it's a bigger deterrent, we'll see it go out of the game."

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