Garry Lyon has laughed off the AFL’s claim that off-the-ball punches and jabs are drastically down this year.
The Herald Sun is reporting that the AFL believes they’ve had a 28 per cent drop in suspensions and fines for strikes after the pre-season instruction to pay free kicks for forceful indiscretions.
However, Lyon feels umpires are simply not reporting the incidents or letting players off with fines, meaning the issue is as alive as ever.
“I did read with great interest that the AFL are lauding the fact that their crackdown on cheap punches and little gut punches has been a huge success,” Lyon told SEN Breakfast.
“It says the crackdown on punches and tummy taps has led to a big fall in thuggish acts. It says the league has this year recorded a 28 per cent drop in suspensions and fines for strikes after instructing umpires to pay a free kick for any forceful strike.
“Well of course they’re not going to have suspensions if they don’t report them.
“Let’s be clear on this. We don’t want you to report anyone anymore. We want you to pay a free kick. Then 12 months later; ‘See! Suspensions are down!' They don’t report them anymore.
“I’ll tell you what this is. This is classic ends justifying the means. When Ben Cunnington whacked his third bloke, they said I’ll tell you what boys, we’re going to have to suspend him. ‘No! Don’t suspend him! I’ve got to put a report out in August to say how well this is going! Give him another fine.’
“Turn it up. Don’t report people and then shout from the treetops how good it is that you don’t have suspensions.”
No AFL player has been suspended for longer than one week for a punch this year.