Brisbane Lions captain Jonathan Brown has slammed the AFL for going “soft” and pandering to parents who might stop their children from playing the sport.
He said the crackdown on sling tackles was political correctness gone mad and went against the fabric of the game.
St Kilda’s Justin Koschitzke and Sydney Swans ruckman Shane Mumford were both slapped with two-week suspensions this week for seemingly regulation tackles that would have earned praise…not penalties…as recently as last season.
Geelong’s Joel Corey produced a more dangerous tackle but escaped a suspension because St Kilda’s Jack Steven was not injured.
Regarded as one of the toughest players in the game, a frustrated Brown said the governing body had “gone too far” and was in danger of sanitising the game.
“Let’s get one thing straight, AFL footy is a contact sport . . . and while I understand times have changed, and I accept that society won’t allow some of the crude stuff that used to go on, I’m worried we’re getting a bit soft,” Brown said.
“Like it or not, injuries are an occupational hazard in any contact sport at the highest level. If you don’t like it, go and play a non-contact sport. If we take the physicality away, it’ll be to the detriment of the game.
“It’d be like telling Mark Webber and the Formula One boys they can only drive in second gear to minimise the risk of a prang.”
Brown said the AFL was guilty of being too image conscious and too concerned about attracting junior players in the ultra-competitive market for the hearts and minds of Australia’s kids and their parents.
The AFL is trying to tap into the talent pool in Queensland and NSW to generate future draft pick options and greater understanding of the sport.
One driver in the recruitment of Israel Folau by Greater Western Sydney was to act as a drawcard for the Polynesian communities, so important to the rugby codes at professional level.
Brown said making the game family friendly was not doing the code any favours. The blitz on sling tackles was at odds with what players had been taught from junior football through to the game’s highest level, he added.
“As a game we’re in danger of getting carried away with image and being seen to do the right thing so as to impress the mums and get more kids playing junior footy,” Brown said.
“I’m all for making the kids game as safe as possible, but don’t sacrifice our wonderful product at senior level.
“We’ve taken the bump out of the game, but please don’t take the hard tackle out of the game too.”
Buford Balony says: Tell us something we don’t know. GAY-F-L is soft as shit.