The fact that Sydney’s Barry Hall received only a reprimand for striking St Kilda’s Matt Maguire makes a mockery of the AFL Tribunal and of the AFL’s commitment to non-violent football.
Whether Hall struck Maguire “in play” rather than “behind play” is mere semantics; the truth is he committed an unnecessary act of violence that should not be accepted as part of our game-in whatever circumstances. Physical contact is one thing. Unprovoked violence is quite another and should not be tolerated anywhere or anyhow on the field.
As a football lover for more than four decades, it is indeed unfortunate that violence can be sanctioned by the very body that was established to eradicate it in the first place. A reprimand makes a farce of it all.