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Friday, May 11, 2018

Eagles coach Adam Simpson takes aim at ‘sloppy’ match review official Michael Christian over Nic Naitanui suspension

West Coast coach Adam Simpson has questioned match review officer Michael Christian’s “sloppy” handling of the Nic Naitanui rough conduct charge, saying his star ruckman had been denied proper natural justice.
Simpson conceded he was now confused about how to coach Naitanui in his attack on the ball after he was handed a one-match ban for a tackle on Port Adelaide’s Karl Amon at the weekend.
The Eagles challenged the suspension at the AFL Tribunal last night but were unsuccessful.
Simpson suggested the charge was the “Nic rule” because it punished the big man for his power and strength.
He said the AFL or MRO had not raised any concerns about Naitanui’s tackling technique prior to the Amon incident.
“The question I’ve got to ask myself and talk to Nic about is what are we going to do going forward?” Simpson said.
“How do we handle this going forward? I think to suggest that in 0.8 of a second Nic’s got to assess obviously where the ball is, who is about to get the ball, his height, his weight, is he going to crumple, is he going to take him on...
“At the moment, he sees the ball, he sees the man with the ball, he goes as hard as he can, he gets one arm around the waste, he pins the other arm and he got the tackle wrong. So that’s OK. That was a free kick. What does he do from now on? Because there is not enough time to actually make all those decisions. Anyone who suggests that’s the way he’s got to handle it is wrong.
“I don’t want him to change, I don’t think anyone wants him to change how he attacks the footy. And maybe it’s just a Nic rule because he is so powerful. Just don’t be so powerful and strong and aggressive in the act of play.”
Simpson said he wasn’t comfortable with how the process unfolded from when Christian announced the charge on Monday.
“On a Monday he gets to present what happened over the weekend and justify why the charges were laid and he just got that wrong with the suggestion that both arms were pinned, Amon came off and didn’t come back on,” Simpson said.
“That was just a bit sloppy from our point of view. The follow up from that, to go on every radio station and suggest it was the easiest decision he has ever made, I would have thought we could make that after the tribunal, not before.
“The natural justice of everything was a bit flawed there. I’m not sure what we can and can’t say in the build up but I would have thought it should be fair and reasonable for both sides.”
Simpson confirmed Fraser McInnes would come in to replace Naitanui for Saturday’s clash with the Greater Western Sydney Giants at Spotless Stadium.
He also said revealed draftee Brayden Ainsworth and Power recruit Brendon Ah Chee would come into the side to replace Luke Shuey (hamstring) and speedster Jack Petruccelle, who misses out with an ankle injury.