VFL/AFL legend Leigh Matthews cannot believe Collingwood’s Jack Ginnivan wasn’t awarded a free kick after being tackled high by Essendon’s Mason Redman.
The AFL conceded on Monday that Ginnivan should have received a free kick for a high tackle in Sunday’s thriller at the MCG.
“In this passage of play, Collingwood’s Ginnivan is responsible for the initial high contact however Essendon’s Redman then continues with the tackle in an unreasonable manner, holding Ginnivan around the neck. In this instance a free kick should have been awarded to Ginnivan,” the league said in a statement.
It comes after the AFL issued a warning last week that umpires will no longer pay free kicks to players who duck or shrug their heads in tackles.
The non-free kick has angered Matthews who slammed the AFL and its rule makers for victimizing Ginnivan.
“Five minutes and 30 seconds to go in the first quarter of the Collingwood-Essendon game when Jack Ginnivan didn’t get that free kick, every other player in the competition would’ve got that free kick,” a fired up Matthews told Sportsday.
“I felt sick. I felt sick because the fabric of our game is umpires treating every player the same. You know that if a player plays for free kicks, umpires might take it into their own hands to make sure it’s an absolute certainty.
“But that was virtually not only a high contact headlock, it was bordering on unduly rough play from Mason Redman and the best umpire in the game, Matt Stevic, didn’t blow the whistle.
“I didn’t blame Stevic. I thought to myself, ‘What are they doing to our game?’ And when I say they I mean Richard Goyder and the Commission who are the only body who can actually change the rules and Gillon McLachlan and his cohort of advisors who are making the game easier for the tackler and harder for the bloke with the ball.
“He (Ginnivan) was victimized. I’d love to speak to Matt Stevic … when he saw Jack Ginnivan take possession and when he saw him being tackled his first thought was to look at Jack Ginnivan – what did he do? Did he lower his body height? He seemed to be watching Ginnivan – not what the tackler did and that’s the fabric of our game.
“I was anything from disillusioned to disappointed to angry to shocked – it got my blood boiling.
“I love the game more than I love any club these days because I’ve been around the footy world a long time. What is being done to the game and its very fabric of looking after the player with the ball is being put as a lower priority to stopping players playing for free kicks.
“Umpires only do what they’re told to do.”