Bulldogs fined $5000 by AFL over Smith - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bulldogs fined $5000 by AFL over Smith

By Roger Vaughan and Guy Hand 24/06/2011 05:25:03 PM Comments (0)

Western Bulldogs' coach Rodney Eade has defended team runner Rohan Smith after the AFL fined the club $5000.

Half the fine is suspended, with the Bulldogs penalised for Smith spending too much time on the field during last Friday night's win over Adelaide.

The former Bulldog spent several minutes on the field, effectively coaching players while miked up for match broadcaster, the Seven Network.

"Just the vision I saw, I didn't think he was out there too long myself," Eade said on Friday.

"The message was to come off, but then on his way off, he saw someone out of position.

"There weren't any instructions to coach - they don't have time to do it. We want the runners to come on and off as quickly as possible.

"The media grabbed hold of it and hammed it up a bit."

Smith will not run for the Bulldogs in Saturday night's match against Gold Coast, but Eade said that was not unusual.

"We've got three runners to rotate, so he's been rotated and missed the boat this week," he said.

Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse said on Friday he understood the AFL's angst over runners directly coaching players and spending too long on the ground.

But Malthouse said it would be disappointing to lose runners - who relay coaches' messages to players on the field during matches.

The AFL has flagged banning runners in the wake of the media spotlight on Smith's actions.

While other coaches have slammed the prospect of losing runners, Malthouse admits he sees the AFL's point.

"If people flout the rules that are in place, the AFL have got every right to say 'you've had your opportunity and now we're going to take it away from you'," Malthouse said.

"It would be disappointing because it's part of our game.

"We've been warned about runners coaching for years. We're not allowed to have coaches as runners, and we understand that.

"Our runners are instructed simply ... get in there, give the message and come back."

Malthouse said the AFL's history suggested if the league wasn't happy with runners, they would ban them.

But he said if that did happen, teams would be able to cope.

"If you take the runners out of it, we'll come up with some other code (to send messages)," he said.

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