West Coast’s Nick Naitanui is set to miss Saturday’s clash with GWS due to a rough-conduct charge.AFL identities including Richmond great Matthew Richardson have reacted with dismay after West Coast’s Nic Naitanui was slapped with a one-game ban.
AFL match review officer Michael Christian charged the star ruckman with rough conduct for a tackle on Port Adelaide’s Karl Amon.
The umpire penalised Naitanui at the time for in the back when he drove Amon into the ground during the last quarter of the Eagles’ win at Optus Stadium on Saturday.
A couple of Port players went to remonstrate with Naitanui for the tackle, but Amon was quickly on his feet.
Christian ruled the tackle was careless conduct with medium impact to the head.
But several former champions of the game took to Twitter to voice their frustration at the ban.
“Ridiculous,” tweeted Richardson.
“How is this a suspension? (It’s) a tackle – not careless contact,” former Port Adelaide skipper Warren Tredrea tweeted.
“AFL Football is cooked,” Carlton champion Brendan Fevola tweeted, adding a thumbs down emoji.
But Christian characterised Naitanui’s action as a dangerous tackle when he spoke to reporters after handing down his findings on Monday.
“We came to the conclusion pretty strongly that it was a drive (tackle) with arms pinned with excessive force,” Christian said.
“So it clearly fit into the guidelines around dangerous tackles and therefore rough conduct.”
Christian said the medium impact classification was consistent with a medical report from the Power.
Christian added Naitanui had other options available to him.
“Instead of driving forward and landing on top of the player, driving his head into the ground, try and roll off to mitigate some of that force with his head into the ground,” he said.
Naitanui doesn’t risk increasing the length of the suspension if he takes his case to the AFL tribunal.
He will miss Saturday’s away game against GWS if he accepts the ban.
The win has proved costly for Naitanui, who also faces a $1000 fine for attempted tripping.
Christian had a busy Monday, dishing out 11 charges, while over the weekend he also referred Geelong star Tom Hawkins to Tuesday’s tribunal for intentional umpire contact.
Melbourne key forward Jesse Hogan was cleared of an alleged staging incident during Sunday’s win over St Kilda.
Hogan was panned widely on social media for the incident with Jake Carlisle, where he appeared to milk contact to draw a free kick.
“I didn’t think was a really delayed reaction from Hogan,” Christian said.
“From the broadcast vision it was a little difficult to tell whether there was contact or where it was made, but certainly from the goalpost vision it was clear that Carlisle did make high contact.
“I think there was enough there and it caught Hogan a little bit off-guard. He went down but he didn’t roll on the ground.”
Port Adelaide’s Dougal Howard, Carlton’s Dale Thomas, North Melbourne onballer Shaun Higgins, Sydney’s Jarrad McVeigh, Richmond’s Nick Vlastuin, Melbourne co-captain Nathan Jones, St Kilda’s David Armitage and Jack Steele and Brisbane youngster Alex Witherden were the other players fined.