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Bartel says clarity needed at the AFL tribunal


Jimmy Bartel says the AFL tribunal needs to follow either a black and white grading system or the Match Review Officer’s discretion but it cannot do both.

A metric is currently used to grade suspensions and fines but the MRO can also grade incidents at their own discretion.

This allowed Richmond to successfully dispute whether Dustin Martin’s elbow to Adam Kennedy constituted medium impact. At the tribunal Kennedy stated the strike was not forceful and was immediately downgraded to low, as per the definition of the grading.

“It might look bad but if you’ve set it up that if he has only given him an ear massage, it’s graded as low impact, if he breaks his jaw it will be severe impact,” Bartel said on the Hour of Power.

“You can’t have a bit of both.”

Bartel compares last week’s suspension of fellow Tiger Dylan Grimes, where an elbow to the head was met with a one week suspension, with Martin’s initial two week ban for an almost identical infringement but one where the AFL argued there had been potential to cause serious injury.

“Immediately you go ‘well, let’s go to the tribunal because that’s just your opinion,” he said.

Both systems have their merits but as it stands, the MRO’s decision can be easily overturned at the tribunal which ultimately defeats the purpose of MRO.

It took the AFL tribunal just 14 minutes to downgrade Dustin Martin’s suspension.

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