Geelong coach Chris Scott calls for crackdown on dangerous technique

GEELONG coach Chris Scott has implored the AFL to crack down on dangerous centre bounce knee contact after Mark Blicavs was floored by Lloyd Meek in the Cats’ 82-point mauling of Hawthorn on Easter Monday. 

Blicavs received a free kick after the incident left him crumpled on his haunches in the middle of the MCG for more than a minute, before coming from the ground to be checked by doctors. 

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The All-Australian returned to play out the game, but Rhys Stanley was substituted out of round two after Carlton ruckman Tom De Koning clattered into his ribs with his knees, sidelining Geelong’s No.1 ruckman from the game against Gold Coast last weekend. 

De Koning was initially sighted by Match Review Officer Michael Christian and hit with a $3000 fine, before having the incident overturned at the AFL Tribunal. 

The AFL sent a memo to all 18 clubs following that incident, outlawing the knee-up, no-jump technique, but Scott wants the League to do more to stamp it out of the game.

“You can’t do it. The AFL sent out a memo that couldn’t have been clearer, saying not only is that a free kick, that it is reportable. You cannot do it. It has to be taken out of the game,” Scott said on Monday night. 

“I’ve got a slightly different view on what constitutes justice in the AFL world, I’ve got no dog in the fight around the penalty to the opposition player. We want the free kick, I don’t want to see the guy suspended. That doesn’t help us anyway.

“Just stop doing it. That should be the message from the AFL; the disappointing thing is they sent out a memo two weeks ago saying they couldn’t do it.”

The sub was also back in the spotlight for the third day in a row, following strong comments from Damien Hardwick on Saturday night and Brad Scott’s decision on Sunday to move Dyson Heppell from the 22 and into the sub role. 

Scott revealed days out that Ollie Henry would be the sub against Hawthorn – Sam Mitchell did the same with Chad Wingard – but suggested it should be mandated when teams are named on a Thursday night or Friday afternoon. 

“It is hard to avoid the headline, we had to name a team on Thursday night for a Monday game and Ollie Henry was never going to be out of the team,” he said.

“I think all the reasons are pretty obvious. It is a new rule and we are a month in. I think it’s good leadership from the AFL or leaders in general if you see something that’s not quite right. They will work through it. I suspect it will happen.”

Hawthorn kicked the opening three goals of the game and should have led by more than nine points at half-time, given its dominance across the first half. 

The game changed from the start of the third quarter with the Cats piling on 10 unanswered goals and holding Hawthorn scoreless, from 22 inside 50s to just one, in a phenomenal momentum swing that led to Geelong kicking 16 of the final 17 goals of the contest. 

Hawks coach Sam Mitchell said his players were left stunned by the reigning premier’s response in the second half and didn’t have the experience or ability to stem the bleeding.

“We definitely won’t wipe it. Everything is an opportunity to learn for us. I think as a playing group and coaching group we can handle some amount of adversity, but if it crosses a threshold we second guess ourselves and play on the back foot and we can’t get anything going for us,” Mitchell said.

“We were a bit shell shocked, really. Gee they were sharp. We went from in the first half where I thought we were clean, tackling was good and pressure around the ball was really good and really troubled them. Then in the third quarter they blew us away really. 

“I think we’ve been waiting for Geelong to do that for the first three and a half games and it came in that third quarter. We just had no answers, as harsh as that sounds for us, we just had no answers. When they are humming at their best, they were just too good for us.”

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