Nic Naitanui will miss one match for what appeared to be a standard tackle on the Power’s Karl Amon. (AAP: Tony McDonough)
Nic Naitanui’s one-match ban for his tackle on Port Adelaide’s Karl Amon has befuddled many in the AFL world.
The West Coast Eagles ruckman was handed the suspension for rough conduct after what looked to be a tough but standard tackle on Amon, after it was revealed Amon suffered delayed concussion.
Now questions are being asked over whether the tribunal ruling passed the pub test. To the casual observer, Naitanui’s tackle did not look too dissimilar from standard AFL fare, with many on social media believing the ruckman to be more than a little hard done by.
West Coast Eagles tweet: Vision of Naitanui’s tackle on Amon. Nic has been offered a one-match suspension.
While West Coast argued Naitanui did not act carelessly in the tackle, and that the concussion could have been caused by a bunch of earlier incidents, Naitanui was left dumbstruck by the ruling, which cited he had a duty of care to a player about 30kg lighter than him.
“If I was seeking to go out and hurt someone … I wouldn’t be as disappointed,” Naitanui said.
“But because it was just an act that I’d done for the past 10 years of my career, I was left a little bit dumfounded to a degree.”
Nic Naitanui’s tackle resulted in Karl Amon suffering a delayed concussion, the Power said. (AAP: Tony McDonough)
It’s the duty-of-care aspect that has particularly sparked debate, with former St Kilda star Nick Riewoldt saying players cannot be expected to make a weight-differential calculation in the spur of the moment.
“This was a good football tackle. It was a free kick for in the back at worse,” Riewoldt told Fox Sports’ AFL 360 program.
“To expect Nic to make that split-second decision as he was approaching Karl Amon [is unrealistic]. What if it was [two-metre tall, 105kg] Charlie Dixon? The ramifications would have been entirely different.
“I just think to expect the player to make that judgement in a split second is completely unrealistic.
“He didn’t sling. It wasn’t a spear tackle. Both arms weren’t pinned. One arm was free. Are we serious?
“I feel for the players. What are they meant to think when there is a split second to make a decision?”
The tackle is now on trial
On social media, many complained the tackle — a staple of Aussie rules football — was now on trial.
Caty Price tweets A little staggered by those claiming @NicNat intentionally tried to hurt Amon. If he’s unable to tackle in the same way as players of other body
Tim Hipsley tweets 3 cases: – Tom Mitchell, elbow off ball to head… CLEARED – Ryan Burton, elected to bump, head clash accidental, Higgins misses a week… CLEARED
Another Saints identity also raged against the incident. Former St Kilda coach Grant Thomas described the decision as “inconceivable”.
Grant Thomas tweets I’m flabbergasted about Naitanui outcome. I really thought sanity would prevail. It’s inconceivable that he had any deliberate motive or intention to injure Karl
For his part, Naitanui said the ruling would not influence his approach to the game.
“I don’t think I need to change anything,” Naitanui said.
“There was no malice in it, no aggression.
“It was just a tackle I guess, and that’s part of our game. It’s been part of our game since day one.”