Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell has been suspended for four matches in a tribunal hearing widely seen as ending the legitimacy of the bump in AFL football.
The hearing related to an incident in the first quarter of a Round 1 NAB Cup clash against West Coast, in which Maxwell delivered a solid hip-and-shoulder to Patrick McGinnity and broke the young player’s jaw.
Maxwell had been offered a three match suspension if he submitted a guilty plea, but he chose to contest the charge of rough conduct and will now sit out an extra week.
Although uncertainty persists as to what is and what is not acceptable when issuing a bump, it seems the fact that Maxwell’s hit caused serious injury counted against him.
The decision appears to be consistent with a warning issued by the AFL two years ago that players will be held accountable if they cause injury when laying a bump.
The verdict has resulted in an outcry from some members of the AFL community, with many declaring the bump – a traditional and well-loved facet of footy – dead.
Posting on the Herald Sun website, Kevin of Helensburgh:
“Well there goes another great part of our unique game. Laying and/riding a legitimate bump. The rules are changed to increase the speed of the game at all costs but the engine room stuff is penalised. There is more body contact in netball these days. Time to get rid of the administrators and get back to basics.”
But there are others who feel differently.
Also on the Herald Sun website, Mike of Burnley:
“The “bump” was premeditated assault – Maxwell is lucky he is not on a criminal charge for GBH. The AFL needs to clean up its act before someone is even more seriously injured and takes legal action for compensation, which will open a number of floodgates. And for all those dinosaurs who bang on about “bring back the biff” – you’d probably still enjoy a good public hanging or flogging if one were to be put on – that too is entertainment from the good old days.”
Undoubtedly, AFL clubs will need to reconsider the instructions issued to their players in order to minimise the chance of having a gun player suspended.
It appears very likely that debate about the role of the bump in football will continue in the near future.
Filled under: Collingwood