MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 09: Jack Viney (C), James Frawley and Nathan Jones of the Demons laugh during a Melbourne Demons AFL training session at AAMI Park on May 9, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 09: Jack Viney (C), James Frawley and Nathan Jones of the Demons laugh during a Melbourne Demons AFL training session at AAMI Park on May 9, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. Scott Barbour - Getty Images

Jack Viney caught up in AFL's Battle of the Bump

JACK Viney has a big future as a footballer, but the members of the AFL Tribunal panel must think he could have a career on the stage in shows like Swan Lake.

Former players Wayne Henwood, Wayne Schimmelbusch and Emmett Dunne clearly all agreed with the AFL's legal counsel, Jeff Gleeson, when he suggested on Tuesday the young Demon could have "spun" out of the way, rather than decide in the split second he had before colliding with Crow Tom Lynch and teammate Alex Georgiou last Saturday at the Adelaide Oval, to brace himself for impact.

Deeming it a bump that caught Lynch high, they found the 20-year-old guilty of negligent conduct, and handed down a two-match suspension.

After Viney rightfully won his appeal last night - making it just the second time in 15 attempts a tribunal ruling had been overturned - it might be time for Henwood, Schimmelbusch and Dunne to have a spell.

Their decision made you wonder if the three wise monkeys believed it possible Viney could also have dove out of the way of the fast-approaching pair, before performing some perfectly executed tumbleturns, or, better still, possessed the ability to rise above them in slow-motion ... Matrix-style.

While the incident has been replayed over and over again, imagine how many times it would have been shown as an example of how not to perform on the supposed tough battlefield of AFL footy if Viney had pirouetted out of the way.

Instead, he did the right thing by lowering his shoulder and trying to ensure there would be minimal damage to himself and the oncoming traffic - and was vindicated by the independent appeals board.

Twenty years ago, the natural instinct of a lot of players in his position may have been to raise the elbow.

Unfortunately, Lynch still received a broken jaw in the incident, but that had as much to do with the impact with the Demon on the other side of him as Viney as he was sandwiched between them.

The AFL is doing the right thing by attempting to protect the head - and Tuesday's verdict was not surprising - but must only do so to a reasonable extent. And the way Viney has been treated is totally unreasonable.

Accidents happen in contact sports, and sometimes the head or face bears the brunt of that (unavoidable) contact.
With the powers that be trying to dump the bump, what's next?

The high-flying speccy, one of the great aspects of our game, where knees can come into contact with heads?

No, we need to be using our heads boys.

WHAT'S GONE WRONG

IT'S quarter-time of the 2014 season, and it's clear the AFL and several clubs need to make some improvements

7. Shortened rounds

Three successive six-game rounds, starting this week. A nightmare for fantasy footy players.

6. West Coast

Kicking themselves out of the flag race by booting 31.50 in four straight losses to Geelong, Port, Carlton, and Fremantle.

5. Canberra games

Just 6549 were there last weekend for the GWS v Port clash after 7863 turned up in round four to watch GWS v Bulldogs.

4. Sliding rule

Highlighting the inconsistencies, Richmond's Alex Rance slides in and trips Geelong's Steven Motlop last Sunday - risking breaking his legs - and comes up with the ball and no 'free kick against'.

3. Brisbane on-field

They'll be wearing the old Bears jumper tomorrow, but injury and form has seen Brisbane resemble the Fitzroy Lions before their demise.

2. Brisbane off-field

Seven months after the board was overthrown, new chairman Bob Sharpless is in the gun and chief executive Malcolm Holmes is gone with the club's debt reportedly $10m and rising.

1. Death of the bump?

It was almost official this week, but we still need clarity.


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