Star’s dog move: ‘That’s a weak act’
Liam Jones could test the love of coach Brendon Bolton, with the Carlton defender certain to come under AFL match review scrutiny.
Jones is in strife for blocking Richmond opponent Jack Riewoldt well off the ball in the second term of Thursday night's loss at the MCG. The contact left Riewoldt on the ground for a short while, but he quickly recovered and played out the match.
Riewoldt's cousin, former St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt, slammed Jones for his senseless play, describing it as a "weak act".
"I don't like that," the Saints legend said on SEN radio's AFL Nation. "He's just running through the middle of the ground watching the play not expecting contact - there's a duty of care there.
"When you're 30 metres off the ball and you're running in a certain direction, you can't expect someone to come across and hip and shoulder you, even if it's not high.
"That's just a weak act."
The incident sparked plenty of debate in the footy world, particularly after Melbourne recruit Steven May was rubbed out of Round 1 for a similar hit on Brisbane's Jarrod Berry during a JLT pre-season clash.
Herald Sun and Fox Footy AFL reporter Jon Ralph predicted a $1000 fine for Jones but "certainly not a suspension", whereas former Sydney and Demons coach Paul Roos said the Carlton star can expect to miss Round 2.
"It's 20m off the ball, Ralphy," Roos said. "He doesn't play at all next week. He's having a spell next week."
Brisbane legend Jonathan Brown said if the AFL really wants to stamp out off-the-ball bumps like Jones', it needs to set a precedent by at least fining him $10,000, if not suspending him, to send a message to players not to play "dumb football".
Melbourne icon Garry Lyon said he wouldn't argue against a one-week suspension as he backed up Brown.
"I think it needs to be stamped out. I'd go $10,000 (fine)," he told Fox Footy.
Geelong great Jimmy Bartel took a different view, saying Riewoldt's swift recovery will help Jones' case.
"I don't think he actually gets him in the head, it's careless because it's a bump and then the fact that Riewoldt played on (helps Jones)," Bartel said on Channel 7's post-game coverage.
"The medical report goes a long way towards determining the end result.
"The medical report comes down to impact and we saw Riewoldt play on."
On Macquarie Sports Radio this morning, Bartel added: "At the very worst case scenario, it's a fine."
Carlton paid for a goal-less first quarter and could not go with Richmond in the last term as the Tigers kicked clear for a 33-point win.
But there was plenty to like about the Blues, who only trailed by two goals at the last change.
Indeed, Bolton loves what he is seeing - particularly when Carlton rallied from 40 points behind early in the second term.
"It's taken us three years to get the list together that we want to hold together for a long time," he said.
"I'm falling in love with our players - I know that sounds mushy, I know it's a word that we don't use a lot.
"They're really tight and the same age, they're having really open discussions with me about how they feel and (me) with them and we're connecting really strongly.
"So there's a real strong element of pride when they do that (fight back)."
Bolton also noted their determination to post a win - something they managed only twice last season.
New co-captain Patrick Cripps led the way, while key forward Harry McKay also impressed. Debutant Sam Walsh and former Sydney defender Nic Newman were the most impressive among the six new Carlton players.
It was also symbolic that Richmond star Dustin Martin was stopped twice by tackles that a year ago, he probably would have fended off.
"One thing we did do well, was tackle," Bolton said. "Some of the effort indicators there were pretty strong."
Bolton bemoaned Carlton's overuse of handballs at times, plus the ease with which Richmond was able to move the ball out the back of play at times.