AFL legend Shane Crawford has slammed the one-match ban given to Essendon midfielder Zach Merrett for a punch to Carlton’s Jack Silvagni while he attempted a kick.
Silvagni was sent to hospital with a fractured rib and a bruised lung as a result of the incident in Carlton’s narrow one-point win, and the club believes he will sit out at least one week due to the injuries.
But Crawford ripped into the AFL match review officer Michael Christian for deeming Merrett’s actions as careless conduct with high impact and body contact, resulting in a one-match ban.
“It’s absolute bullcrap,” Crawford said on Wide World of Sports’ Full Time segment.
“High impact? Please. You’re kidding. Surely that’s not high impact. Accidents happen in our game and unfortunately that’s just the way it is. It’s not high impact.”
Crawford said heavy actions like the one Merrett did on Silvagni are commonplace in the AFL.
“Zach Merrett shouldn’t get a week for that. That’s seriously a love tap,” Crawford said.
“It happens probably 20-30 times during games where you throw the arm in and make that player really work for that kick.
Merrett suspended after hit on Silvagni
“I think they have to appeal, they really do.
“They’ve got a big game coming up against Collingwood.
“Zach Merrett is a very fair player…we wish Jack all the very best but I just think it was an absolute accident. “
Crawford was concerned that injuries from the physicality of the game were taken into account at the tribunal to the extent that they have been.
“Are we going to get to that stage where if you bump into someone and they break something or they hurt their knee, you’re out?” Crawford questioned.
“I think that’s the case with Zach Merrett. It’s certainly unfair.
“They don’t deserve to have their star player rubbed out next week. “