Carlton needed to use the Willie Rioli defense in a bid to free skipper Patrick Cripps to play in this weekend’s must-win clash with Melbourne, according to Jonathan Brown.
Like Cripps, Willie Rioli was banned for his mid-air collision with Sun Matt Rowell as the Eagle’s impact sent the midfielder crashing into the turf.
Rioli was given a one-match ban for the heavy bump, but was successful in overturning the suspension at the court by arguing his actions were not “unreasonable”.
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Cripps has been hit with a two-match ban for his similar action that left Lion Callum Ah Chee concussed on the Gabba turf.
Brown believes a “precedence” was set in Round 1 – with the difference being Cripps’ has been graded as high impact and not medium like Rioli’s.
“The end of the day, the precedence has been set for my belief when Willie Rioli was let off with Matty Rowell in Round 1. I don’t think there’s been a rule change,” Brown said On the Couch.
“To me, it looked like Willie Rioli was later (in making contact).
“Yes, you can argue that it was a marking contest however it was an aerial contest. One was in play, one was a marking contest.
“They were both scenarios where the player’s had to leave the ground. I don’t think Patty Cripps could do much. I actually think that (Rioli’s) looks worse and was let off.”
Fellow panelist Nick Riewoldt agreed that the Blues needed to use Rioli’s appeal as the basis for their challenge, should they decide to make one by 11am AEST on Tuesday.
“Whether you are jumping in the air in a marking contest or to intercept the ball from a handball is irrelevant,” he said as Brown added: “It should be irrelevant.”
“So they walk in (to the court), you press play on the Willie Rioli tape and you walk out five minutes later – that’s how it should go down,” Riewoldt said.
Brown felt Rioli’s argument that his conduct was “not unreasonable” should apply to Cripps as well.
“The argument for Willie Rioli (was) he couldn’t reasonably expect contact in that situation and obviously had to brace – but so did Patty Cripps.”
Fans were shocked back in Round 1 when Rioli escaped sanction for the hit on Rowell, with some calling on the Eagle to “buy a Lotto ticket”.
Gerard Whateley said the Blues were in the process of preparing for an appeal on Monday night, but didn’t think the Rioli comparison was as “cookie cutter” as some believed.
“First they have to show it’s not a bump. The second part is there an alternative?” he said.
AFL360 co-host Mark Robinson agreed with coach Michael Voss that it was a “split second decision” for Cripps.
“My flinch reaction was: ‘You’re gone Patrick Cripps’ … but I said the same with Willie Rioli,” he said.
“We were gobsmacked at the time they appealed and got off. I don’t think the court can suspend him if they put up the Rioli (vision).
“But my gut feels is you can’t have that in our sport anymore.
“He didn’t mean to do it – but what’s more important? He didn’t mean to do it or the health and safety of Ah Chee?”
On the Couch host Garry Lyon believes Cripps’ actions are worthy of suspension, claiming it was “not a great surprise” the Match Review handed down a two-game ban on Monday.
“It’s a hold your breath moment,” he said.
“I don’t think in this state that we are in and the game we’ve got, if that goes unpunished, then we are kidding ourselves.”