HERE WE FUCKEN GO.
The race for the AFL‘s highest individual honour – the Brownlow Medal – just got thrown into absolute disarray by the benevolent Match Review Panel, after the league’s judiciary slapped medal frontrunner Patrick Dangerfield with a one-game suspension for a dangerous tackle.
Dangerfield’s ban means he will be ineligible to receive the 2017 medal, thwarting his quest to score back-to-back awards.
The MRP has offered Dangerfield a one-game suspension for his tackle on Carlton big man Matthew Kruezer, which left the ruckman reeling with a mild concussion.
The league has cracked down on sling tackles – particularly ones where a players arms are pinned, leaving the head prone to impact with the ground – in an effort to protect the brain health of players. Kruezer sat out the remainder of the game between Carlton and Dangerfield’s Geelong Cats after the incident.
Both Dangerfield and Cats coach Chris Scott insisted that the tackle was fair, with Dangerfield himself stating at the time that “I haven’t been cited for anything. I felt it was a fair tackle, there was no umpire’s call at the time so I don’t see an issue with it.”
But the MRP (quite obviously) thought differently. The suspension not only rules Dangerfield out of the Brownlow race for 2017, but will prevent him from lining up for the Cats in their crucial clash against the surging Sydney Swans this coming Friday night.
Beyond that, it means a certain neck-tatted, weird-haircutted, don’t-arguing midfielder from Richmond now has oceans of clear air as the race for Charlie draws to a close for 2017. Dustin Martin is almost an unbackable favourite for this year’s medal, with latest odds putting him at a cool $1.22 to take out the medal. His nearest rival now is Hawthorn ball magnet Tom Mitchell, well adrift at odds of $5.50.
Should the Dangerfield suspension stand – the Cats have the option to challenge the suspension at the AFL Tribunal tomorrow night – you’d imagine Martin’s odds are only going to shorten even further.
If you’re the betting type, we suggest running. Not walking.