St Kilda midfielder Brad Crouch could be staring down the barrel of a stint on the sidelines following a late hit on Brisbane Lions defender Darcy Gardiner during Friday evening’s AFL match at Marvel Stadium.
During the second quarter of Brisbane’s 15-point victory, Crouch’s shoulder made heavy contact with Gardiner’s head near the boundary line.
Watch every blockbuster AFL match this weekend Live & Ad-Break Free In-Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
The dazed 26-year-old required medical attention following the ugly incident, which sparked a brief melee.
“That’s not good I don’t think,” footy icon Brian Taylor said on Channel 7 commentary.
“That’s head contact with a bump and it could’ve been a tackle.”
Melbourne AFLW footballer Daisy Pearce continued: “That’s weeks. At least a week and anything upward of that hinges on what those doctors are working out right now.”
Channel 7 commentator James Brayshaw replied: “You say that, but in the current landscape how would anyone know?”
Crouch will almost certainly come under scrutiny from the Match Review Officer, but the severity of his punishment remains unclear.
Earlier this week, the AFL Appeals Board overturned the AFL Tribunal’s decision to uphold Carlton captain Patrick Cripps’ two-match ban for rough conduct due to a lack of procedural fairness.
The outcome baffled the footy community, and the AFL Appeals Board could face further scrutiny following Crouch’s late hit at Marvel Stadium.
“Good on Carlton for pursuing it and getting their player free but I thought we were all about protecting the head and Cal Ah Chee had no chance whatsoever to protect his own head last week,” Lion coach Chris Fagan said told reporters in the post-match press conference.
“And he was off early in the game last week and he’s not playing this week as a result of it so we get penalised for that and unfortunately Cal gets injured.
“We’ve just got to protect the head – it’s as simple as that.”
Melbourne great Garry Lyon fumed on Fox Footy: “It’s the greatest raffle in sport right now … it’s a farce.
“We don’t know what’s going on. ‘Procedural fairness’, come on.
“I hope this is not the start of a long concussion run for Callum Ah Chee, because we’d go back to this moment and go, ‘This is an AFL that makes a lot of noise but (doesn’t do enough)’.”
St Kilda will need a minor miracle to qualify for the finals after Friday’s 12.9 (81) to 9.12 (66) defeat.
Brisbane opened up a 26-point buffer late in the second quarter, but for the third game in a row, they either gave up a sizeable lead, or had one eaten into significantly, as the Saints exploded in the third quarter to lead by five points, putting the Lions’ top-four ambitions in peril.
However, Brisbane’s pursuit of a double chance would’ve been severely impeded if Saints spearhead Max King kicked straight, but he could only must five behinds, including four missed set shots from directly in front in the second half when the Saints enjoyed all the momentum.
In response, Rayner stepped up to the plate, showing King how it’s done, booting three of Brisbane’s four final-quarter goals, to finish up with a team-high four majors, and prove to be the match winner.
The Saints will likely drop to 10th this weekend, meaning they will have to not only beat the Swans in Sydney in the final round next week, but will also need a raft of other results to go their way to make the finals.
– with Ronny Lerner, NCA NewsWire