Aftermath: Saint Jack Lonie checks on injured team mate Hunter Clark after a clash with David Mackay of the Crows during round 13. Photo: DARREN ENGLAND/ AAP IMAGE

AFL boss stands by Mackay tribunal hearing

June 24, 2021 BY

AFL football operations boss Steve Hocking has backed the league’s decision to send the David Mackay incident to the tribunal, despite the MRO opting not to grade it.

Hocking and the AFL argued that Mackay should be held accountable for the contact made, though the tribunal opted to clear the Adelaide midfielder.

“It was a lineball decision, it wasn’t an easy decision … we took quite a considerable amount of time. It got to a point whereby, you know, with my executive powers, I was able to refer it,” Hocking told reporters last week.

“We stand by the fact that it was careless, and there was a lack of duty of care.”

Hocking said the league wouldn’t hesitate in adjusting rules in the future if it helped protect players.

“The AFL respects the decision of the tribunal jury following last night’s hearing. We never assumed that David Mackay sent out to hurt Hunter Clark, but we did consider that he acted carelessly and unreasonably in the circumstances,” Hocking said.

“The tribunal did not agree with this and we accept the decision with the tribunal. The health and safety of players at all levels of the game remains paramount and the AFL will not hesitate to take action where the health and safety of players is impacted or at risk.

“The rules have not changed – players must take reasonable care at all times, including how they approach a contest and how they bump an opponent and they need to continue to do so in the future.

“There is an ongoing process and review of the rules to protect the health and safety of all players in the game.

“The outcome of the tribunal will be considered in that review. If necessary, rules will be adjusted at the end of the season.

“We make no apologies for taking action to make the game safer for participants at all levels of the game.”