Tribunal overhaul may need dynamite


There is an increasing cry for definable logic and consistency in the way the AFL adjudicates player infractions on and off the field.

For example, in the wake of the incident involving Adelaide’s Shaun McKernan and West Coast player and long-time Hoodoo Gurus guitarist Brad Sheppard, both of the AFL coaching Scott brothers – North’s Brad and Geelong’s Chris – protested the leniency of the decision and suggested the match review panel system needed to be hoisted on a hydraulic lift and bashed at with a handy spanner (roughly speaking).

Actually, that could have been one Scott brother saying the same thing a number of times, or both of them saying it once, or some variation in numbers of reiterations and Scott twins – it’s hard to tell.

AFL exec Mark Evans also expressed some concerns regarding the decision-making methodology used by the match review panel, the need for a review on how that panel interacts – or doesn’t – with the tribunal, and also the desirability of someone having a bit of a butcher’s at the points system, the grading system, the system’s system and quite possibly the Scott system, if one is found to exist.

There are two problems – at least – with such theories. One is that the match review and points systems – employed to replace the previous tribunal-only pre-points system and make this process nominally more consistent and transparent – seems now to have become so labyrinthine, so hideously overgrown with cant, precedent and furphies, that nothing short of dynamite can clear up the view.

The other problem may be the Scotts/Evans notion of clearing up any confusing anomalies in the system. Arguably, in many areas, the AFL has demonstrably been more oriented towards multiplying those than removing them.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.