'Waste of time': Icon goes ballistic after AFL ban

‘Waste of time’: Icon goes ballistic after AFL ban

By Emily Patterson and Simon Brunsdon

UPDATED: AFL legend Wayne Carey has vowed to not watch a game for at least the next four weeks after the suspension handed to Essendon forward Peter Wright.

Wright was on Tuesday slapped with a four-game ban by the tribunal for his contact with Sydney‘s Harry Cunningham on Saturday which left the Swans player unconscious on the turf.

Wright was referred straight to the tribunal and before the hearing Carey – considered by many to be the greatest Aussie rules footballer ever – went berserk on the AFL for even penalising Wright.

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“Weak as piss straight away to the AFL. Whoever decided that was sent straight to the tribunal, that was absolute crap and wrong,” Carey said on his podcast.

“I’m prepared to say if Peter Wright gets suspended, whatever (number of) weeks he gets, I will not watch a game of AFL footy. I’m done.

“I’m jumping ship, and I would say to anyone out there if we want this game to look anything like it should look, he’s allowed to attack that footy and he’s allowed to protect himself. They got to the footy simultaneously; he turned his body to protect himself.

“If he doesn’t turn his body, they’re both hurt. This is what our game is about. It’s just gone too far now.

“I will not watch footy for as long as he gets weeks. It’s a waste of time, a waste of his money, and I could not be more disappointed.”

Match review officer Michael Christian deemed Wright’s hit to be careless conduct with severe impact and high contact.

The tribunal’s decision followed heated debate around Wright’s intentions to mark the ball as he appeared to turn his body mid-air and brace to bump.

During the hearing, Wright pleaded guilty to all aspects of the charge, as the AFL campaigned for a ban of “no less than four matches”.

Essendon petitioned for a reduced three-match ban.

After 24 minutes of deliberations, a verdict was reached.

A physio report submitted by the Bombers’ representation stated that Wright suffered a significant injury to his right shoulder in March 2023.

Thus, it was implied that it was not unreasonable for Wright to take steps to protect his shoulder in the collision, even if it was by completing the wrong action.

Essendon’s lawyer Ben Ihle stated that because Wright had put his previously injured shoulder at risk, it proved that he was making some attempt to minimise the impact on Cunningham.

Ihle also argued that Wright attempted to reduce the contact by turning his body to make front-on, body-to-body contact rather than shoulder-to-head contact.

However, the AFL’s lawyer, Nick Pane, contended that this reasoning did not justify the way Wright left the ground to contest the mark.

Ihle also labelled the kick before the incident as a “dodgy floater”, which set up the collision.

Both parties argued that Wright was not entitled to contest the ball.

The 27-year-old will miss Essendon’s games against St Kilda, Port Adelaide, the Western Bulldogs and Adelaide.

Meanwhile, St Kilda forward Max King’s one-match ban for a dangerous bump on Collingwood midfielder Finlay Macrae was upheld.

King was offered a one-game suspension for the incident during the Saints’ 15-point win over the reigning premiers last Thursday night.

The bump was judged by the MRO as careless conduct with medium impact and high contact.

King pleaded not guilty to the charge with the Saints arguing that the incident was “accidental, not careless” and low contact not medium contact.

He will be unavailable for selection in St Kilda’s round-three match against Essendon on Saturday,

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