Patrick Dangerfield wears too many hats.
Patrick Dangerfield wears too many hats.

‘Not good enough’: Legend slams Danger

FOOTY legend Garry Lyon has given Patrick Dangerfield a clip over the Geelong star's diplomatic response to the AFL's sling tackle review changes.

The AFL has moved to tighten the competition's dangerous tackle guidelines after widespread public outcry surrounding Hawthorn veteran Shaun Burgoyne's Friday night tackle which saw Dangerfield's head dumped into the turf during the Cats' win over the Hawks.

Burgoyne was let off with a $1000 fine for rough conduct because Dangerfield avoided injury in the incident.

Dangerfield responded to the controversy on Monday and declared he was satisfied with Burgoyne's punishment.

"It's a tough game to play," Dangerfield told Fox Footy's On The Couch.

"I definitely think we need to protect the head, but we expect a huge amount of our players to play on instinct and play on edge to put on a good show.

"In the position that Shaun was in, we can replay that as many times as we possibly like and dissect it, but in a split-second movement, when you're locking your head down to try and tackle your opponent and bring him to ground, what is the process?

"I think it was adjudicated fairly and I'm glad I got the free kick, otherwise it was holding the ball."

Patrick Dangerfield also had one arm pinned.
Patrick Dangerfield also had one arm pinned.

Lyon, however, insists that the Burgoyne verdict is completely out of character for the game - following the sport's committed focus to protecting players from concussion and head injuries.

He said Dangerfield's response is counter-productive to the game's push for greater awareness of concussion injuries.

"The issue of concussion has got to the situation where players, their careers are not only finishing up, but their lives are being compromised and this (sling tackle) action contributes to that," Lyon told SEN Breakfast on Tuesday.

"It's not good enough to have Patrick turn around and say, 'Well, I understand, I thought it was a good executed tackle'. I was disappointed in that."

He said it is "disingenuous" for players to suggest that players operate within an understood "players code" of protecting each other when it comes to concussion issues.

Fellow footy great Tim Watson responded to Lyon's comments by declaring on SEN that Dangerfield had to hold back from criticising the league or Burgoyne because of his position as president of the AFL Players' Association.

"I think he's in an insidious position regarding this topic, because of his position as president of the players association," Watson said.

The aftermath.
The aftermath.

"If he comes out and criticises the decision then he's criticising the tackle and he's also criticising another member of his own association. He would probably be thinking about how he's viewed by other members of the players association. I'm not saying that's right, but I can understand the position that he finds himself in.

"That's probably why he's trying to take as much heat out of this as he possibly could."

Senior coaches John Worsfold and Chris Fagan on Monday backed the AFL's attempt to stamp out sling tackles and protect players' heads.

The AFL ticked off the ruling on Monday but admitted it exposed a flaw in the guidelines laid out for match review officer Michael Christian.

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An immediate change will give Christian power to consider the potential for all dangerous tackles to cause injury when grading them from round three onwards.

Previously the MRO could only consider the potential for injury when assessing spear tackles and driving tackles.

"If you choose to lay a dangerous tackle it's going to be captured under these new guidelines," AFL football operations boss Steve Hocking said.

"We want to be clear - protection to the head is our highest priority.

Burgoyne, 37, is free to play for the Hawks against Richmond at the MCG on Thursday night.

The AFL has halved fines in 2020 because of league-wide player salary cuts, meaning Burgoyne will pay $500.


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