I tried to post this on the most appropriate blog – our host at ubersportingpundit central – but couldn’t log in – so you’ll have to put up with me venting spleen here.
Probably the best thing that’s happened to Australian soccer took place during the third quarter of the AFL game between Brisbane and Saint Kilda.
Riewoldt jarred his shoulder in a collision with Jamie Charman and then damaged it further when he spilled a diving chest mark. Just to ensure it was an injury to remember, Brisbane’s Chris Scott and then Mal Michael cannoned into him. It was an extraordinary show of gamesmanship that looked more like a tag-team wrestling match than a game of football.
Now those of you who’ve read something of what I’ve written about rugby will remember I don’t mind a bit of bif. Two fit and healthy men standing toe to toe belting each other is the natural extension of a contact sport. And, contrary to what some mothers will tell you at a dinner party, I don’t think most people, both males and females, have a problem with the odd stoush on the footy field.
But what happened last night is beyond the pale ! Watching him so dejected and crying in the stand, I understand the temptation to run onto the field and fix up Charman, Scott and Michael. Indeed, I think less of Nick’s team mates that they didn’t do something in retaliation. I was especially concerned by Mathews’ attitude when questioned after the game. I’ve alway thought him a hard man, but always fair. His remarks (or lack of them) about what happened make me think otherwise. I hope that this is not a precursor to what will happen in the future if Brisbane can’t field a full-strength side. Has the mantra of “Win at any cost” become the new Lions team song?
If the Saint Kilda Football club don’t take civil action for assault they don’t deserve to keep the loyalty of their stars like Riewoldt.
The penalty handed out to Hopowate shows that the NRL, and in particular Manly Club, seem to be serious about stamping out thuggery off the ball. I can just condone what Charman (No19) did, at least he made a pretence of going for the ball – but what happened as the injured player was leaving the playing arena – that’s just plain assault, and should be referred to the courts after the AFL tribunal has rubbed out the offenders for the remainder of the season.