Sliding rule opens ‘grey area’ debate

SYDNEY – The AFL community’s debate over players sliding in legs or knees first has proven divisive, with Sydney coach John Longmire and West Coast counterpart John Worsfold disagreeing on whether there are any grey areas.
HangZhou Night Net

Longmire said yesterday he has no problem with Lindsay Thomas being cleared over the incident that broke young Swan Gary Rohan’s leg – but says the rules concerning the issue are a little confusing and the AFL is still finetuning its approach.

North Melbourne’s Thomas risked a three-game ban when he successfully fought a rough conduct charge at the tribunal on Tuesday night.

The AFL vowed before the season to crack down on players sliding into contests knees or feet first and the Thomas case was the second landmark charge in two weeks.

Swans co-captain Adam Goodes earlier copped a one-week ban for sliding into Port Adelaide’s Jacob Surjan, with the club unsuccessfully challenging that suspension.

“We’ve been in the unenviable position of being on both sides of the debate and discussion over the last week – obviously with Goodesy being suspended and then Gary Rohan having a broken leg,” Longmire said.

“I think there’s still some grey areas when you’re looking at everything. We certainly didn’t have any problem with Lindsay getting off.”

Worsfold later contrasted that view, suggesting the league’s 18 coaches were aware of what’s acceptable.

“I think they were fairly different circumstances (Goodes and Thomas’ incidents) and I still think it’s pretty common sense about what’s correct and what’s not correct. I don’t think there’s too much of a grey area,” Worsfold said.

“I think most people would’ve accepted that. Goodes was found guilty so we’re aware of sliding in like that when somebody has already got the footy, you are going to be at risk.”

Longmire suggested it was difficult to determine how similar the incidents involving Goodes and Thomas were.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

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