GEELONG coach Chris Scott has questioned the fine line of eligibility for the AFL Brownlow Medal following Patrick Dangerfield’s suspension.
The Cats came close to challenging Dangerfield’s one-game rough conduct ban, but decided their chances of success were not great.
The reigning Brownlow Medallist will miss Friday night’s big home game against Sydney and if a tribunal hearing had failed, Dangerfield probably also would have missed the following weekend’s clash against Richmond.
Scott said Dangerfield’s ban should lead to more discussion about what is a legal tackle.
Without mentioning new Brownlow favourite Dustin Martin by name, Scott also compared him to Dangerfield.
Martin is walking a Brownlow tightrope, having been fined twice this season.
Another fine would mean a one-match ban, also ruling the Tigers star out of the Brownlow.
Dangerfield was suspended for a tackle that concussed Carlton ruckman Matthew Kreuzer.
“You can get fined a couple of times and still be eligible, but you can tackle a player with the best intent in the world and be ineligible,’ Scott said.
“I can see how people would look at that and say ‘I’m not sure it sits all that well’.”
Scott also is not convinced that suspension should rule a player out of winning the Brownlow.
He notes that if someone can miss games through suspension and still win the medal, the player probably deserves it.
Scott said if the Cats had gone to the tribunal, they would have argued that Dangerfield’s tackle was reasonable in the circumstances.
But they also knew the odds would have been against them.
“It’s not as though you go in with a level playing field – you need to prove that they made an incorrect decision,” he said.
“The rules are worded in such a way to make that almost impossible.”
Scott added that Dangerfield was adamant his personal situation should not affect their decision on a tribunal challenge.
“He feels there are bigger fish to fry than his individual accolades,” Scott said.
“When you look at the bigger picture hopefully over the course of a couple of months, you can see the positives in him having a week out.”
He also will continue to demand that his players tackle hard
“If the alternative is be a very poor tackling team and be poor in the contest, then I think we’re going to have to risk that occasionally, players might inadvertently cross the boundaries,” he said.