This past week has been one hell of a rollercoaster ride; a great win against arch-rivals Essendon and the subsequent controversy against the Curnow’s. What has got quite a number of supporters irate (and they are not just Carlton supporters), is the incredible inconsistency in the AFL when it comes to the matter that faces the MRP and Tribunal. The supporters are angry at a player who is supposedly a representative of the players as a WHOLE – Patrick Dangerfield who came out and stated his disgust in what was happening, not towards the AFL but towards the Curnow brothers and the Carlton FC.
The handling of this matter regarding the Curnow’s umpire contact and also umpire contact as a whole, by the AFL, has shown markedly how the AFL simply does not see how this is seen by supporters. They are inconsistent and sometimes bow to pressure from those media commentators who simply show a bias towards some players and club, and a negative bias against some players and clubs.
Ex-Carlton player, Diesel who himself got rubbed out by umpire contact, has stated that the umpires get too close to players and should just give them some space. Then there are the blatant and verifiable facts that there have been many moments this year when players touch an umpire, whether inadvertently or deliberately, yet these players do not get sanctioned by the AFL. The AFL is now seen as being an organization that is so inconsistent and so one-sided in this regard, that it is leaving not only clubs, supporters, but players as well as to what the hell is going on!
The AFL set-up the MRP and the Tribunal to handle matters during a game. This they did, but not to the satisfaction of the AFL. Now I understand that sometimes the AFL does need to step in when both the MRP and Tribunal manifestly do not sanction a player sufficiently given the ‘misdemeanour’ perpetrated, point being Basher Houli’s hit on Jed Lamb last year where he was given just two weeks for knocking out cold a player, who could not play for quite some time compared to Houli who could play in two weeks. This is not the case here.
The AFL should not have stepped in with regard to the Curnow brothers, in any way, shape or form and the reason being is that neither one of the umpire contacts were malicious, threatening or in any way put the umpire in ‘danger’. This was not the case with regards to Tom Hawkins from Geelong. He deliberately slapped the hand away of the umpire. It was intentional, malicious and quite angry. He was advised to plead guilty as otherwise he would have got two weeks. He was miffed that Ed Curnow only got a fine and he got a week’s suspension.
Then we have the President, repeat THE PRESIDENT of the AFL Player’s Association come out and categorically state the unfairness directed towards Hawkins for getting suspended but the Curnow brothers just got fined. Patrick Dangerfield must step down as President of an association that is supposedly there to represent ALL PLAYERS not just his team-mates. It makes no difference what he personally feels, as the head of an organization that is there to represent all players, he should have just kept his mouth shut. He has shown that he doesn’t represent all players, just some.
The issue here is that for the most part, a majority of supporters suspected that Ed Curnow would get a week’s suspension and Charlie, just a fine. When the news came that both just got fines, there was a celebration, but we all knew that the AFL who is now showing how weak they are and they don’t really believe in a system that they molded, would appeal. Media commentators it seems matters more to the AFL than consistency in their organization. If they did not agree or like the outcome, then given that the umpire in question did not even remember being touched by Ed Curnow, then whether the AFL agreed or not, they should have just let it go and then clarify the rules.
They are now being seen, together with Dangerfield as weak and inconsistent and that the AFL simply do not believe in a system they set up. Supporters of this code are demanding that AFL not is seen as being inconsistent, they are demanding that the AFL not cower to media pressure unless it is warranted as it was with Houli. They have to step back and let the systems they put in place – work, there will be times when the MRP and the Tribunal get it wrong, but if it isn’t a serious issue as it was with Houli, then they will have just learn to bite the bullet and CLARIFY. Dangerfield must step aside as President of AFL Players Association, he does not represent every player just a select few, and he has lost respect from a lot of supporters.
Carlton are disappointed as are their supporters, but as a club, we will not let this define us in our game. We will not let the AFL or Dangerfield damper what was a bit of a turning point in the team with the win over Essendon. It now gives the club an opportunity to bring in a player to step into the role that Ed Curnow has. It will give us an opportunity to hone in and secure depth in our playing group. Next week when we play Geelong down in Geelong, Ed will be back, fired-up.
P.S On the note of Bolts getting a warning regarding his vocal comments towards Mark Baguely should’ve got a medal. With regard to Baguley’s apology stating that Jed Lamb was sledging him regarding a birthmark and that he just retaliated, and did not mention anything about his father, is total bullshit. I don’t mind sledging, but family members are off-limits – totally. So while Lamb was gracious enough to shake hand and sweep it away, I can guarantee you that Carlton supporters will not be that gracious.