The Adelaide Crows are set to appeal a one-match suspension handed to midfielder Richard Douglas for ‘careless conduct with medium impact to the head’ by the Match Review Officer Michael Christian after his Friday night bump on Bomber Zach Merrett, by arguing to the AFL Tribunal that ‘at least he didn’t sandpaper his head’.
Taking inspiration from recent events surrounding the Australian Test cricket team, the Crows are set to argue that Australian captain Steve Smith was handed a one-match penalty for an action that has brought the entire fabric of our nation’s society into disrepute, and that an equivalent penalty for a bump in an AFL game is ‘a bit much’.
Smith was suspended by the ICC after his involvement in ball-tampering when he, as part of the Australian leadership group, encouraged Cameron Bancroft to use sandpaper to change the condition of the cricket ball in their third Test against South Africa.
Crows Head of Football Brett Burton said he was confident that the severity of the Douglas incident did not warrant the penalty and is willing to risk a $10,000 fine by challenging the decision.
“We have thoroughly reviewed the incident and after seeking some independent expert advice we believe that we have a strong argument which we will present on Tuesday evening,” said Burton.
“Our argument is that, essentially, at least Douglas didn’t pull out some sandpaper, secretly and surreptitiously rub it on Merrett’s head, and then conceal it in his underwear.
“We can all agree - especially after the public outcry and the fact that Smith’s lost the captaincy, his integrity and the nation’s trust – that rubbing sandpaper on a thing is the worst thing that a sportsman can do. Well, Douglas didn’t do that, and I hope the Tribunal will see that to be the case.”
The AFL Tribunal will hear Adelaide’s case when it convenes Tuesday evening from 5pm Melbourne time. Douglas will incur no further penalty if the original finding is upheld but if it is found that he did use sandpaper in his clash with Merrett, Douglas will forfeit his right to Australian citizenship.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has followed Friday’s controversial release of 15 re-recorded club songs by revealing that he is planning to re-release footage of past Grand Finals with CGI additions and edits, ASW has learned.
The AFL announced on Friday that they had recorded updated versions of the traditional club songs for 15 of the 18 AFL teams, with many supporters up in arms at the changes, and it’s expected that there will be further outrage if McLachlan’s plans to amend past Grand Final footage are realised.
Sources close to McLachlan’s inner sanctum have told ASW that McLachlan revealed in a private meeting his plans to re-visit several Grand Finals and insert ‘CGI and digital effects’ to make the matches fit his ‘original vision’, including the addition of Jabba the Hutt and Boba Fett to 2005 Grand Final footage, and replacing North Melbourne’s 1999 Grand Final player Cameron Mooney with the ghost of Hayden Christensen.
“Jabba, Boba, Hayden Christensen…these are just the tip of the iceberg,” said one insider who had detailed knowledge of the meeting.
“Gil spoke for 45 minutes about different visions he had. He’d mapped them all out on a storyboard and even hired sketch artists and animators to mock up quick screen tests of what he’d planned.
“We tried to tell him that he was going to make the traditionalists angry – that people were happy with things the way they were and he didn’t have to do this sort of stuff…but he just had a crazed glint in his eye. It looked like he hadn’t showered in weeks.”
ASW was able to obtain a partial list of proposed changes, with the understanding that McLachlan has already allocated AFL funds to their execution. They are as follows:
It is unknown how many more amendments have been suggested by McLachlan, and information is not expected to be released before the beginning of the 2018 AFL season on March 22.
A record number of fans that have been flocking to Richmond Football Club’s headquarters at Punt Road to sign up as new members are being warned to be cautious and stay alert after reports that a number of horses have escaped from an adjoining stable and are stampeding through nearby streets.
The Richmond Football Club are expected in the coming days to announce that they have broken the AFL record for the most club members for a season, even before the season has begun. These record numbers have come after the Tigers won the 2017 premiership - their first since 1980.
Nearby stable owner, Michael Rowe-Waver, has informed the club, however, that the large number of new members congregating by the club may be under threat after his entire stable of horses were able to escape his property moments before he was able to shut the gate to their paddocks.
“I’m worried they’re all going to get hurt,” said Rowe-Waver to ASW.
“I’ve been keeping horses for 37 years and I’ve never had them escape like this, and wouldn’t you know it, bloody Murphy’s Law, this large mob of people turn up just moments after all my horses bolted,” continued Rowe-Waver, slowly turning his head to look at the camera and shrug in a knowing fashion.
One new Richmond member, who asked not to be named, said they were unaware of the threat of imminent pain from being trampled, but were going to stay in line to sign up because they “loved the club that much”.
When asked why they hadn’t signed up at the beginning of the previous year, when they could have enjoyed and appreciated not being trampled, the fan simply said they were “busy”.
The Western Bulldogs have offered their clubrooms as sanctuary for any Richmond fans who are injured, saying that they have experience dealing with these types of injuries from a similar incident the year before.
Last year there were riots at the Western Bulldogs when some new supporters arrived to sign up the day after membership closed and without enough money, expecting membership fees to be $1 cheaper.
The AFL season begins on March 22 with Richmond facing Carlton at the MCG.