AFL Match Review Panel Overhaul Aims for More Certainty and Consistency
It is thanks to Adrian Anderson that the AFL’s tribunal system was revolutionised with the aim to be the delivery of consistency and certainty. He was the reason an elaborate points system was brought in, along with a precursory judging panel and a schedule for penalties. The guiding light was that the AFL wanted to be able to provide a reasonable predictability of outcome, and they wanted the entire thing to be independent of the League, with the judging panel not just at arm’s length, but actually out of reach. The panel, in fact, was to be as unconstrained as the tribunal, and they made sure that incentives were offered for acknowledging guilt and entering that as a plea in order to reduce the amount of tribunal hearings that would need to occur.
Lawyers Permitted to Streamline the Process
Lawyers were authorised to streamline the process and help in navigating through the increasingly complex definitions of intent. After all, what is careless to one may just be reckless to another, but were either, or both, and accidental? Were you being malicious and clumsy or simply stupidly so?
The lawyers were also sanctioned to tackle the issue of what constitutes a tackle. Was it a sling, spear, cuddle, bump, block, or shephard? And, if you are allowed to block and shepherd sometimes, how could you be punished when you did it other times? How could a legal action result in an illegal act occurring?
Mark Evans Then Stepped In
After this all occurred, a new head of football came in and tinkered with what had been set down before. Gold Coast CEO Mark Evans removed the points system because of the tedious aggregations leading to results that were worse than the sum of its parts. This change, rather than the others, would lead to more consistency, at least according to Evans.
A Clamp Down on Jumper Punches
Just as we were all about to throw it all out and go off and enjoy a game of online blackjack, Simon Lethlean made his brief appearance, and the most obvious intervention he was author of was the mid-year step to clamp down on jumper punches -a change that would definitely lead to more consistency, according to Lethlean.
The match review panel was reprimanded and told to take care not to let slip what they were letting slip. Lethlean then left, Steve Hocking came in, and more changes were made -in order to bring more consistency.
Every AFL Football Manager Has Wanted the Same Thing
Each and every manager for the AFL has wanted the very same consistency, and has thus introduced the changes they thought would be able to deliver it. And in large part they succeeded in doing so, but this judicial system, like umpiring, is one that is very difficult to police.
And so the match review panel is gone, and has been replaced by one person to do the job required. All pretence of independence has been abandoned too, with Hocking ratifying all decisions, but this is probably the best way forward. For now. We will have to wait and see.