Thursday, January 21, 2021
Home Game Merrett suspended after rib punch on Silvagni

Merrett suspended after rib punch on Silvagni

Essendon star Zach Merrett has been handed a one-match sanction from the AFL’s Match Review Officer for striking Carlton’s Jack Silvagni.

The incident was assessed as “Careless Conduct with High Impact and Body Contact” after Silvagni was forced to spend a night in hospital following Merrett’s clenched fist to his mid-section.

The Carlton youngster was left with a fractured rib and a bruised lung out of the incident, with the Blues expecting him to miss at least a week due to the hit.

“Scans have confirmed that Jack Silvagni suffered a bruised lung and fractured rib last night,” Carlton tweeted.

Jack Silvagni spent the night in hospital with a fractured rib and bruised lung after Merrett’s punch (Getty)

The AFL announced a big crackdown on punches early last year, and just two weeks ago West Coast’s Jeremy McGovern copped a one-match ban for striking Gold Coast’s Alex Sexton in a scuffle.

In addition to Merrett’s ban, West Coast defender Will Schofield was handed a one-match ban by the MRO for headbutting Port Adelaide youngster Zak Butters on Saturday afternoon.

Schofield’s incident was assessed as “Intentional Conduct with Low Impact and High Contact”.

Merrett’s ban came after Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes questioned whether a potential ban for such an innocuous incident could see other similar incidents penalised.

Are we going to start penalising players who put their knee up in a marking contest and hit someone in the jaw and they come off?” he asked on the AFL Sunday Footy Show.

“That’s a tackle. That is in the act of tackling. When he makes contact with him, the ball has just left.

“That happens 10 times a game. That is not a behind the play jumper punch. That is in the act of tackling.”

While former Essendon great Matthew Lloyd agreed with the assertion that Merrett’s ban was down to the impact of the hit, he said the act couldn’t be classified as a natural football action.

“If there was no injury, he wouldn’t miss a week,” he said in response to Cornes.

“I would agree with you, but you can’t classify that as a tackle.”

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