Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley says flaws with the one-man MRO system have been highlighted by the Mason Cox case.
In the wake of Cox’s successful appeal at the tribunal for making high contact with Richmond’s Dylan Grimes, the spotlight has again been shone on the difficulty of Michael Christian’s task.
Buckley made it vehemently clear that the one-match penalty initially proposed to Cox would have been a major injustice but concedes the job Christian has to undertake is exceedingly challenging.
“Ultimately I think we got to the right result, in some shape or form,” Buckley said on SEN’s Whateley.
“Mason has been fined $3000 for an act that happens quite often on the football field.
“I don’t think his intent was to harm Grimes at all, I think it was just to play the game.
“If he’d have missed a game I think everyone would have been more than a little uneasy about it. I definitely would have been.
“But he’s still been fined for it.
“Even in this aftermath, it’s very difficult for one person to be responsible for that role.
“It’s a very difficult job to do and to have one person accountable to it … and then to be able to be scrutinised and picked apart in the aftermath.
“I think he can only ever enforce the rules as they’re written and potentially he did that.
“The way the laws are written it could be deemed as a reportable offence, and I can understand how 'Chrisso' (Christian) got to that.”
It had been suggested that Richmond reported concussion symptoms for Grimes, which could have sealed Cox’s fate, but Buckley intimated that perhaps the MRO may have shot himself in the foot in this instance.
“We were aware that there was nothing in the medical report,” he added.
“The medical report is put in immediately after the game. If there are concussion symptoms, that can shift and change.
“I don’t know exactly what the system says, but I know a medical report goes in immediately. Before the finding was handed down, there was a report in front of the AFL, the MRO.
“I think that there’s Chinese whispers in media, and that’s no good, but I also think that Michael contributed to that in some way by stating the medical report contributed to the finding.
“That is not a specific statement but it leads to a misjudgement about what Richmond wrote, from what I can gather.”