Call for unprecedented AFL punishment after Port Adelaide ‘disgrace’

There are calls for Port Adelaide to be made an example of as the club braces to learn what action the AFL will take over Aliir Aliir’s head injury.

The star defender returned to the field of play only eight minutes after he was helped off the ground following a heavy collision with teammate Lachie Jones during the Power’s upset loss to the Crows.

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The AFL got on the front foot on Monday, ordering Port Adelaide to explain why Aliir and Jones didn’t undertake full concussion tests after the sickening collision.

Aliir turned up to training on Monday declaring he was “fine” but both he and Jones was later placed in concussion protocols and won’t play this weekend against Geelong.

Jones underwent a head impact assessment and while he was cleared of a concussion from the second-quarter incident he was subbed out of the game at half-time.

But Aliir returned to the ground later in the quarter and played out the match, NCA NewsWire reports.

The footy world has reacted with anger at the club’s failure and North Melbourne premiership-winner David King on Monday night called for the AFL to hit the Power with an unprecedented punishment for head injury related infractions.

“I guess we will soon find out the AFL’s actual stance re concussion,” King wrote on Twitter.

“Basic fines don’t work. Soft Cap fines are certainly valid options but I would also add, a suspended Premiership points or a suspended National Draft pick component.

“Never again. Enough is enough.”

The Herald Sun’s Jon Ralph told Fox Footy’s On The Couch the Power are more likely to be hit with a significant fine.

The AFL is only expected to consider a significant penalty if the league finds doctor Mark Fisher breached the league’s guidelines on concussion.

The club on Sunday made it clear Fisher was strong in his belief Aliir had no concussion-related symptoms and didn’t need the SCAT 5 test, despite vision of the incident showing the defender splayed on the ground in the aftermath.

Essendon legend Tim Watson on Tuesday said the club’s actions were a “disgrace” when speaking on his SEN Breakfast show.

“That is a terrible mistake, if you’re going to be kind. A terrible oversight by the medical people at Port Adelaide not to have put him (Aliir) into the concussion protocol and tested him,” he said.

“Anybody watching that game, the first thing you think about when you see him lying there on the ground, you do not need to have spent five years getting a medical degree to understand what that young man was going through, both of them for that matter.”

He went on to say: “It was so obvious. It was so highlighted and so graphic, it beggars belief that nobody (assessed it)”.

Ralph said the AFL must send a message with its punishment.

“If the AFL doesn’t punish them, all that has really happened is the two players who should’ve been in concussion protocols have been forced into it,” Ralph told On The Couch.

“There’s a please explain, they’ll put some information back to the AFL. I think it’ll be fines rather than anything more significant like draft picks. But the AFL has to send to message.

“I look at the context of Richmond through the Covid era. They got $100,000 in their soft cap after a couple of Covid breaches. Covid was something that was really risking the credibility and future of the game – and this is another one. It may well be that it’ll be a $20,000 or $40,000 fine with the AFL coming out and saying ‘this is the future fine’.”

The AFL earlier confirmed it had sent a “please explain” regarding the concussion protocol management and “specifically in relation to the club’s decision not to undertake a SCAT5 concussion test” after the incident”.

“In absence of the SCAT5 test occurring and out of an abundance of caution, the Port Adelaide Football Club has decided to enter Aliir into AFL Concussion protocols and he will be unable to participate, at a minimum, in the clubs Round 21 match this week vs the Geelong Cats,” a league statement said.

“Upon further review after being substituted on Saturday night, Port Adelaide player Lachie Jones, who was involved in the collision with Aliir, has also entered AFL Concussion protocols.”

Both players will now need to undertake and medically pass the mandatory 11-step, minimum 12-day process before returning to play.

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