GEELONG superstar and AFL Players’ Association president Patrick Dangerfield has slammed the Tribunal’s “farcical” decision to downgrade Ed and Charlie Curnow’s intentional umpire contact charges.
A week after Geelong spearhead Tom Hawkins was slapped with a one-game ban, the Blues brothers escaped with $1000 fines on Tuesday night, successfully arguing their contact was careless.
The AFL has since appealed the “manifestly inadequate” sanctions in the wake of mass confusion across the competition.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley was particularly strong in his condemnation, declaring the Cats should be “bleeding” after Hawkins copped his whack with grace.
“I certainly echo the sentiments of Bucks. I think it was farcical, to be honest,” Dangerfield told SEN.
“It’s a couple of years running now that Tom has worn the brunt of the MRP, and that’s fair enough with the jumper-punch last season (on Adelaide’s Matt Crouch) and now the umpire contact this year.
“Then the following weeks the same thing has happened and it hasn’t been consistent.
“I think we’re all scratching our heads as to where is the consistency because I’m a little confused as I think the majority of the AFL world is.”
WATCH: Hawkins touches the ump in R7
While Dangerfield hadn’t spoken to Hawkins about the Curnows avoiding suspension, he would feel ropeable if he was in his teammate’s shoes.
“I mean, seriously, it’s absolutely ridiculous,” Dangerfield said.
“As football lovers, there is no consistency here.
“I haven’t spoken to Tom about it, but I think I’d be right in saying it’s just ridiculous and what’s he to think?
“I’d be pretty annoyed if I was him. That’s to say it lightly.”
WATCH: Ed Curnow makes contact with the umpire
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Despite the different sanctions, Dangerfield didn’t agree there needed to be a hard-and-fast ruling applied for umpire contact, believing each case should still be judged on its merits.
“I’m happy for us to view each incident, but it needs to be consistent because at the moment it is clearly not consistent one iota,” he said.
“You can’t tell me the Ed Curnow situation and incident was any different to Tom Hawkins’.
“You could certainly argue that Charlie Curnow is in a slightly different boat to his brother, Ed.
“Ed’s a wonderful guy and I have a huge amount of respect for Ed, but we’re talking about the incident here and it’s the same as Tom’s, yet it’s a different outcome.
“I just don’t agree with it.”
WATCH: Charlie Curnow’s umpire contact
Dangerfield insisted the Cats would have argued Hawkins’ case more strongly with the benefit of hindsight, and thought it was a “clever move” by the AFL to appeal the Curnow sanctions, with the hearing scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
The AFL had no problem with a $1000 fine handed to Gold Coast co-captain Steven May after his case for umpire contact was successfully argued down from intentional to careless.
WATCH: May’s demonstration goes wrong
Another major issue this week has been Mark Baguley’s sledging controversy with Jed Lamb from the same Carlton-Essendon match.
Dangerfield didn’t believe AFL players needed an on-field code of conduct following the ugly incident, and argued the Players’ Association didn’t need to get involved.
“I really don’t think as a PA we need to step in in this instance, I think we’ve got enough on our plates,” he said.
“You’ve just got to be wary as a player that everyone is in different personal situations and it is only a game after all.”
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Source: AFL FOOTBALL NEWS