Footy legend Malcolm Blight makes startling call for AFL to ban tackles altogether as debate rages over big suspensions
- Malcolm Blight wants the tackle eradicated from the AFL
- Comes as many players have been suspended
- AFL also concerned about brain injury lawsuits
AFL great Malcolm Blight has said the AFL could be on the right track to eradicate tackles due to the legal threat of concussion lawsuits and to reduce the congestion that tarnishes the modern game.
Concussions – and potential future lawsuits resulting from brain damage – are an obvious concern for the sport and the AFL has responded by introducing suspensions and free-kicks for what it deems dangerous, which would have been perfectly legal there. just a few years ago.
Blight, who won two VFL premierships with North Melbourne in the 1970s before turning to coaching where he was a few flags with Adelaide in 1997 and 1998, says it’s not just the threat legal which threatens the future of the tackle.
He said the sport was also suffering as a spectacle, with coaches being too preoccupied with tackling and pressure preventing the skills of the game from showing.
“There have already been nearly 14,000 tackles this year, whereas when the stats were first recorded in the late 1980s there were only 7,400 tackles in 314 games,” Blight said. on Sportsday SA from SEN.
“Tackling is now an integral part of the game and the numbers will only continue to rise.”
AFL great Malcolm Blight (pictured) called for Code to drop tackle altogether
Hugh McCluggage of the Lions suffered a serious concussion in a recent game against the Hawks following a tackle from Hawks defenseman James Sicily
Blight pointed to the success of Collingwood’s style of football under coach Craig McRae, which encourages quick ball movement to avoid congestion.
“Cut goals, make it a more exciting game, rather than this crap game of congestion we’ve seen for years,” Blight said.
“I was lucky enough to go to Ireland to play Gaelic football, there’s no tackling in this game. You can bump and lean on the players and strip the ball, so the ball is the object but not the body.
“Are we going to come to this?
He then addressed the AFL’s biggest fear – concussion litigation.
“It will bankrupt the game,” he added.
“Lawyers are 20 paces away now, just queuing to get a crack.
“If you’re going to take legal action and you’re worried about head injuries, ask the coaches to stop playing like this with the congestion.
“Don’t put 36 players around the ball like the Under-12s do, make it a positional game.”
Blight is likely to have a supporter in Brisbane midfielder Hugh McCluggage.
Hawthorn captain James Sicily was subsequently banned for three matches following his tackle on Hugh McCluggage
The Lions star was recently the victim of a nasty tackle at the hands of Hawks defender James Sicily which left him lying on the MCG.
McCluggage’s head was thrown against the deck on a late run for the ball and lay motionless as he received medical treatment.
Sicily were subsequently banned for three matches, with the court calling the incident “reckless driving, serious impact and high contact”.
Carlton striker Matthew Cottrell and GWS star Lachie Whitfield were also banned recently for dangerous tackles.
This followed a three-game suspension for Collingwood enforcer Jordan DeGoey for a savage bump on West Coast Eagles youngster Elijah Hewett earlier this month.