Josh Gibson takes a hit for the Hawks at the MCG
Josh Gibson takes a hit for the Hawks at the MCG JULIAN SMITH

Bartlett slams MRP inaction a 'disgrace'

AFL legend Kevin Bartlett has slammed the AFL's match review panel for failing to protect the man on the mark.

Speaking on Melbourne radio on Wednesday morning, Bartlett labelled the MRP's decision to clear Hawk Josh Gibson "a disgrace" and "a joke", saying it let down protecting unsuspecting players for failing to cite the veteran Hawthorn defender.

Ruggles was standing the mark late in the second term in Monday's clash with the Hawks when Isaac Smith played on with Gibson on hand to assist.

Both players struggled to their feet but Ruggles was forced from the field and played no further part. Bartlett says that showed the bump was of "excessive force" and warranted further action.

"That decision by the match review panel to give the thumbs up to the Josh Gibson incident in taking out Geelong's Tom Ruggles, is a disgrace," Bartlett said on SEN.

"The man standing the mark should not be taken out with force when the umpire calls 'play-on'.

"Talk about being a sitting duck. Ruggles moves sideways to cover Isaac Smith when play on was called from a stop play.

"Ruggles was then poleaxed by Gibson, and those little birds you see in cartoons are birds flying around his head as he lay prostrate on the ground from the impact.

"All this for just standing on the mark. Ruggles could take no further part in the game and is in doubt for this week's game.


"What a joke. The MRP said the block was not excessive for the situation.


"It sure was, for the force was excessive and unnecessary.

"Then the MRP said Gibson didn't run a long distance to take out Ruggles. Of course not. When you want to block the man on the mark, you stay in close proximity so you can block - supposedly without force and not taking the player out.

"A player standing the mark should not fear for his safety and be blindsided and picked off.

"The MRP sadly let the game down in protecting unsuspecting players."

News Corp Australia

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