TAYLOR Walker hit a brick wall in his groundbreaking season last night in the form of the match review panel and a three-game suspension for a spear tackle that has been widely condemned.
Adelaide’s wayward forward, who has kicked 37 goals, was dealt his second suspension of the season for rough play in a tackle, this time against Richmond’s Steven Morris.
The Crows cannot reduce the suspension because he had carryover points from the previous incident, a sling tackle on Geelong’s Harry Taylor in round seven.
While teammates rushed to his defence – he received a free kick for laying the tackle – Walker’s action was described as ”dangerous” by former Western Bulldogs ruckman Luke Darcy and was a hot topic in the media, despite the fact Morris was not badly hurt.
Unless he challenges the ruling at the tribunal and is found not guilty, Walker will sit out games against Port Adelaide, Greater Western Sydney and West Coast.
In the unlikely event the Crows challenged and lost the case, his action was assessed as warranting a four-match suspension.
Darcy, speaking on the AFL’s website, mirrored a lot of the media commentary on Walker’s tackle. ”It’s not a great technique that one,” he said.
”In fact it’s a dangerous one. If you’re playing rugby league, Taylor Walker, there’s no question you’d get weeks.”
Former Richmond champion Kevin Bartlett also was heavily critical of Walker’s method.
The AFL umpiring department completed its weekly review of games yesterday and determined that the umpire had erred in paying a free kick to Walker and against Morris.
”The view of the umpiring department was that it should have been a free kick to Morris,” an AFL spokesman said last night.
Richmond’s medical report, which revealed Morris had neck soreness and had been sent for scans, played a part in the length of suspension. MRP chairman Mark Fraser acknowledged last night the medical report had led the panel to increase the impact to ”medium”.
The National Rugby League has been savage on spear tackling and lifting in recent years. Incidents are graded with suspensions of one to nine weeks.
The MRP was active yesterday, suspending Walker, St Kilda’s Brendon Goddard, Hawthorn’s Brent Guerra, Essendon’s Stewart Crameri and Richmond’s Daniel Jackson all for two or more matches.
Guerra’s crunching bump into a stooping Eddie Betts in Hawthorn’s win over Carlton last Friday night was viewed dimly; the MRP called the incident reckless and the contact medium.
It left Guerra with a four-match suspension, reduced to three on a guilty plea if Hawthorn chooses to let it pass today.
Goddard’s swinging right arm into the face of his opponent, North Melbourne’s Sam Wright, during Sunday’s win by the Roos over the Saints also drew attention.
The panel assessed it as a level-four striking offence, with intentional contact and medium impact.
Goddard’s three-match suspension can be reduced to two matches if he pleads guilty today.
In the midst of a tough season the Saints’ utility looks likely to have some time to ponder his own poor form and his levels of frustration.
Crameri has been rubbed out for rough conduct against Western Bulldog Dylan Addison on Saturday, the panel offering him a two-match suspension on a guilty plea.
Jackson would have copped one week on the sidelines for striking Chris Knights of Adelaide, but his poor record meant the MRP doubled the suspension to two matches.
With STATHI PAXINOS
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