MRP Raffle: Cotchin-Sloane

Well today is MRP lottery result day let’s be honest, it is a system which was introduced to try and provide consistency to similar cases, to say it has failed dismally is a massive understatement (bit like Troy Chaplin’s career).


The whole process was designed by a lawyer who lacked footy nous but also, in my opinion, Nathan Burke has been bitterly disappointing. We have had plenty of occasions during the year when he has explained the reasoning behind a decision when we all have been quite bewildered at how the decision was reached and ironically one of those decisions is causing a lot of the problems they are currently facing. If Trent Cotchin had been suspended for the jumper punch to Lachie Neale there wouldn’t be the strikes dilemma they are currently facing.


The AFL showed their disgust in the decision by changing the parameters of the jumper punch. If the MRP had done their job properly and suspended Cotchin on that occasion, which let’s face it Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder could see that should have occurred, or the AFL shown strength and appealed that decision which they have the power to do so, there wouldn’t be the conundrum they currently face.


Now I am red hot on if there is ANY CONSISTENCY AT ALL COTCHIN MUST BE FINED AT AN ABSOLUTE MINIMUM TODAY which as we all know in his case due to their own stuff up, results in the MRP ruling Cotchin ineligible to play in the GF.


Why am I so firm in that thought? Was Cotchin going for the ball YES but he CHOSE to bump and the ruling has been on the consequences of injury to the opponent. Now, did Cotchin make any contact to the head? YES. Now any responsible medical report (I have checked with three doctors – RABS should have rung you as well) who all made the point it would be impossible to say that the incident with Cotchin wasn’t a contributing factor in the delayed concussion. Geez, we have had the stupidity of Brodie Grundy getting paid a correct free kick for holding the ball and yet being suspended purely because Ben Brown was injured. Likewise re. Patrick Dangerfield and Matty Kreuzer.


The players on several occasions have made the point re. we understand the head is sacrosanct and we must adjust etc (Pendlebury said we as players understand the Grundy suspension), personally I think it is stupidity re. a player’s fate resting in the hands of whether a opposition player is injured but as we all know they are the current rules. Summing up re. Cotchin in the current rulings and parameters it is impossible to find him not guilty altogether. During the season he would have received an absolute minimum of a fine and a strike which we all would have said we hate and disagree with the current rulings but that’s the way it is and moved on and that’s what could and should have happened in this case. But they can’t due to their previous stuff up. Brandon Ellis you would think will receive a fine, yeah, bit lucky but move on. The Rory Sloane re. Patrick Dangerfield is a footy collision between two committed champions going at the ball. Did Paddy lay a bit of mayo on it trying to get the free kick? Yes, (the only aspect of Paddy Dangerfield I don’t like) Danger played the game out as well unlike Dylan Shiel.


Now let’s not forget Sloane has already been ridiculously penalised once and missed a final. This would be the greatest injustice of all. I will personally never watch another game of AFL footy if Sloane is suspended for that and I feel just as strongly if it was Round 1, it just happens to be a GF. I would be filthy if even the club accepted a fine for it during the minor round and I admit I feel nearly as strongly re. Cotchin to be ineligible to play and be HONEST this would effectively be from him being incredibly undisciplined during the season on two separate occasions.


Is he unlucky? Of course he bloody is but how unfair would it be to other players and how hypocritical it would be to let him off altogether? Jimmy Bartel resigned his position on the MRP during the year for supposedly not having the time (cough cough) I wonder what he would do if he was offered the position of chairman? The MRP have been as consistent and varied as the X-Lotto results on a Saturday night. What will they deliver today?


Read more of our Richmond v GWS coverage HERE.


  1. Thanks Book.
    Yep, MRP raffle Monday. For what it’s worth – all three (Walker, Sloane, Cotchin) had eyes on the ball, were playing ball, and the collisions were all part of the game. Wrt the Cotchin incident, watching in slow motion is completely different to real time, and any penalty further takes away that courageous part of the game of attacking the ball. If his opponent hadn’t had ‘delayed concussion’ we wouldn’t be talking about these possibilities. Just another part of the BS associated with the machinations of the MRP, and yet ANOTHER reason why there should be impartial, expert medical opinion ON the MRP (cf available to the MRP) – a world of difference. Grrr.

  2. steve todorovic says

    Rulebook, the initial premise of your article, that if Cotchin had been suspended for his earlier jumper punch that there would be no strikes dilemma , is completely irrelevant here. Given Shiel was concussed, the most lenient grading Cotchin could hope for if charged would be careless conduct with medium impact to the head. That would carry a two-match suspension, down to one with an early guilty plea, before any bad record is factored in. It would take a grading of low impact for Cotchin to be fined, then bringing his record into play and elevating the penalty to a one-match suspension for a third strike. The concussion eliminates any chance of low impact .

    If the MRP decides he was contesting the ball and had no realistic alternative way to contest the ball, he will be cleared of both rough conduct and forceful front-on contact. It is easy to say Cotchin was contesting the ball, because he ultimately won it. But there is the possibility the MRP will say he was first clearing a path to win the ball. His right arm is tucked, an action that suggests he is protecting himself in the contest. The same as Sloane does when he raises his arm to brace for contact with Dangerfield and makes contact with Dangerfield’s head. Cotchin’s left arm is attempting to collect the ball. Importantly, that should be enough to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    The argument to suspend Cotchin will centre on his duty of care to Shiel. Cotchin enters into the contest as low as is humanly possible and at speed. In a game of millimeters, with the ball in dispute, his actions should be considered reasonable.

    If looking at a precedent, go to Sydney’s Dan Hannebery and Essendon’s Michael Hurley in 2014. Hannebery is one of the best in the game at protecting himself while winning a disputed ball. In this contest, he turned his body while Hurley came at the ball front on with his head down, coming off second best. Hannebery was cleared because the MRP deemed he had no alternative way to contest the ball.

    All of these give the MRP sufficient wriggle room to find Cotchin has no case to answer. The AFL will not want Grand Final week celebrations , including Brownlow night, be hijacked by constant talk of appeals and possible injunctions. A very bad look on the biggest stage of all.

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Rabs I agree in part yes independent medical intervention is desperately needed but the most important thing is the head can’t be sacrosanct for the rest of the year but not the Prelim final ( Garry Lyon nailed it ) Steve while you present a well thought out comment of course it is relevant re being suspended earlier in the year as it removes the argument re concussion again the main point is did he chose to bump yes did he make any contact to the head what so ever yes will it be hypocritical if there is no action what so ever,YES AND YES thank you

  4. Comes down to intent, which is something of a grey area that will allow the MRP/AFL to make a subjective decision that means Cotchin plays. Personally, I though his “intent” was to bump, which means weeks. That said, I’d hate to see the guy miss a Grand Final. No excuse me as I get back to this fence I’m sitting on…

  5. Martin Rumsby says

    The rulings of the MRP re Cotchin and Sloane will be scrutinised very closely. If neither player is found to have a case to answer the credibility of the panel will be questioned (particularly in Cotchin’s case). If either is found guilty the relevant club will appeal the decision and one could imagine the matter being referred to a higher legal system if the appeal is unsuccessful. My money would be on the “no case to answer” verdict.

  6. an attem pt to tackle should have been made by Cotchin and we would not be having this conversation…but however you view this incident , real time or slow motion it suggests a deliberate attempt to apply a bump, which of course carries a duty of care …the bump went wrong for Cotchin, i dont think for one minute he meant to hurt Sheil but he did and under the laws he has a case to answer. I was adament at first he would have been found guilty but i have read that Sheil actually received the concussion later from a tackle applied on him by a richmond defender..Astbury i think it was…this news has come from the Richmond camp and could be bullshit but i wont close my mind to the possibility that it could be correct.

  7. Can’t believe I’m saying this because it goes completely against my pedantic nature, but just let ’em play. There is sufficient grey area in the tribunal guidelines and the incidents themselves that the MRP will let them through… I think. For example, Joel Selwood fractured Brad Crouch’s cheekbone at the Round whateveritwas game at Adelaide Oval and it wasn’t even reviewed – demonstration that the AFL doesn’t always let the outcome drive the decision when it suits them. The head is sacrosanct when it’s convenient.

  8. I have to admit I really don`t understand the MRP at all. You`ll see Joe Blow get a match this week but Fred Bloggs did the same thing last week and nothing was said. It really is so confusing.

    The only thing I thing that is against Cotchin is that the other player never took any further part in the game. But forgetting that in both cases to me it looked as if the players involved were all going for the ball and sadly bumps took place. I mean it wasn`t as if any of the 4 players were out to injure the the other or about to put on a full boxing match in the middle of the game. They were playing football for heavens sake a contact sport where arms and legs do tend to cause injuries now and again

  9. 1. Comparing the MRP with Try Chaplin is a true master-stroke, RB.
    2. It is outrageous that the AFL allows an MRP member to also be a media commentator. MRP members should neither be seen nor heard. I agree, some of Nathan Burke’s prognostications from his ABC Grandstand pulpit have been laughable in the extreme. But they do go some way toward explaining the farce that is the MRP.
    3. Re Cotchin: I will preface this by saying that I would not want to see any player miss a grand final (apart from Phil Carman, of course!). But Cotchin chose to bump, an opponent was concussed, and Cotchin should pay the penalty. Having said all that, there is no way the MRP will have the cojones to sanction him.

  10. Well how predictable was that. Cotchin walks. Has there ever been a more inept group of dills than the MRP. If the AFL has any balls what so ever it MUST over rule the decision and send it to the tribunal

  11. The thought did cross my mind TR: will the AFL appeal the decision in the interests of the health reasons for which the rule was brought in?

    The bigger question for me? Forget the rule as it stands. Should Cotchin be able to contest like that? If the AFL thinks he should then the rule she be rewritten and interpreted appropriately.

  12. Everyone has been let off.

    I can understand the angst expressed by the Crows faithful, but Cotchin’s act was, as in tune with the Tigers theme song, strong and bold. Also fair, in my view.

  13. Here you go.

    Patrick Keane?
    TCotchin cleared contact DShiel. Panel said Cotchin direction was in line of ball, not opponent. Contact not unreasonable in circumstances.
    11:23 AM – 25 Sep 2017

    Gentlemen, start your engines.

  14. And for good measure….

    More from P Keane

    BEllis cleared contact LWhitfield. Ellis was contesting the ball and no further action taken.
    11:23 AM – 25 Sep 2017

  15. Fair play to Cotchin – he is very very fortunate, but I hope he has a blinder.

    JB – regarding Patrick Keane’s comments on Ellis: that is as ridiculous a comment that has ever been uttered by an AFL official. Contesting the ball? fmd

  16. I am but a humble messenger Smoke. :)


  17. JTH
    I don’t have an issue with the way in which Cotchin went for the ball as I don’t believe there was intent to injure him. . However, so many precedents have been set this year that the MRP had no choice but to at least fine him. Once you have rule interpretation that is determined by outcome rather than intent there is no wriggle room.

  18. TR, listening to some MRP explanations is like listening to my kids explain why they should be allowed 15 more minutes on the iPad.

  19. So The Cosh has been cleared to play on Saturday. Who would have expected less? And everyone got off, too? Golly. But that does make it fair, and stress-free for the MRP. They have those expectations in a barrel John, and just pull them out at random. You’d take them about as seriously as a politician’s promise, wouldn’t you?

    The actual ruling, however, was in keeping with the modern game — let the viewers see the best sides out on the field for the Big One, as long as you do it from the comfort of your own lounge room. The People’s Game at this time the year is for the corporate suits who need to ego-trip their management teams and international visitors. You’d hate some mining executive’s wife from South Africa to being asking, Which is the one they call The Hammer.

    And we’re listing the names of all those pushing for an AFL appeal of the decision. It will be posted on the notice board at The All Nations, along with your home addresses and the names of your wive’s hairdressers. They’ll just get off with a bad hair day should any further action be taken in this matter.

  20. Great rant!! They should all get off! I am not playing the game of arguing by the AFL’s corporate rules and standards. I will not use their ridiculous previous decisions as yardsticks. I will not play their bitter, lowest common denominator, “our guy missed out so your guy has to”, rules.
    Danger was put on a cross during the year. It was laughably absurd.
    Yes, the head should, in this age of strength and pace, be protected more than ever.
    But, no, and never, to players being suspended for legal pieces of play, based purely on where their opponent’s head cocked or fell.
    No to being reported simply for how something looked in slow motion.
    Notice is is almost always the better players, the ones who attack the ball the hardest, with the least fear, that are the ones getting in the most trouble all the time. These PR decisions go against the core of the game.
    There was NOTHING in the Cotch hit. He went for the pill, tucked up on impact. Got the ball! Watch it at normal speed haters. Play the fuck on!
    “We’ll, Player X got weeks! Rah, rah, rah!”
    He shouldn’t have. Neither should ours.

    As to whether he should get rubbed out, the point is mute. As with big bad boofhead Hall, the AFL, ironically, like they have a totally different set of umpiring rules for finals, always want the best players out there on the biggest day. No way will he get done.

    Nor should he, though.

  21. Dennis Gedling says

    The house always wins so Cotchin was always going to play. Ridiculous.

  22. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thank you every one re commenting was the Cotchin incident on Saturday worth a suspension,NO
    did he have to at the very minimum have to cop a fine under the current guidelines,YES .Did the MRP stuff up earlier in the year by not suspending,Cotchin,YES.Is it totally hypocritical re other cases by the MRP YES.Should he there for under the rules be ineligible to play in the GF YES.Do I feel as strongly as I ever have on any thing ever in sport,YES personally the hypocrisy of this for me is the final straw
    will I be watching,NO.Tony Robb the comment by Patrick Keane re Ellis is as idiotic as any thing I have ever heard in sport and I use your comment on Rulebooks Rant which will be on line later on tonight
    ( JTH I like your line re your kids )

  23. Matt Zurbo you nailed it!

  24. Joe De Petro says

    If Barry Hall can go seven rounds in a Preliminary final and knock his man out in the eighth, then all these guys deserve to play in a Grand Final too.

    The AFL set the precedent.

  25. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Old Dog,Stainless ( anc any one else ) it is NOT having a crack at Cotchin it is the event anything as it goes regime of the Afl
    Might as well have announced it before the prelim it’s the do what ever you like with no punishment round i.

  26. Picking up JTH’s point re his kids. Exactly. And as with the kids getting the extra 15 mins more often than not so it is will this very human MRP. I thought he was a goner but then I remembered, humans make the decision regardless of precedents, sacrosancts and all the hashtags in a twitterstorm. Great article MA.

  27. I’m with Zurbo on this. Ridiculous to regard the vagaries of AFL decision making any sort of standard to judge by. Of course they contradict themselves. They’ve been doing it for more than a century in one form or other. The real problem here is the pompous pretense that attaches to the whole system. And the pompous pseudo authority assumed by so many who report on these matters.

    It’s unfortunate Sheil couldn’t play the game out, but that’s footy. You have to find a way, regardless of the footy gods.

    The game is better for having Cotchin, Sloane and Ellis out there on Saturday.

  28. Sounds like we may see a few you up at Milparinka & Pooncarie next year. It’s so tranquil up there. You can hear yourself think. Every now and again we get an AFL official up here collecting dues from the teams playing in the Tibooburra League. Their hides are tanned and used as sun umbrellas in the beer garden. MRP officials are considered trophies, and fetch top dollar. But we don’t get many coming through since the bounty was doubled. Got any you wanna steer up this way?

  29. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Rick,JB can’t have different rules for the prelim which they have done.Wrap I was ready to punch,Nathan Burke thru the radio yesterday yet another case of just because they were a good footballer does not mean they will be able to perform a important role at the top level adequately
    thank you

  30. Can feel your passion from here Book. You never disappoint with references to Mr Chaplin. (Troy not Clay!)

  31. Well said, OBP.
    This is a tiddly wink competition at the arse-end of the Earth, as the whole planet falls apart – but still, it is important in any game to establish clear boundaries. Again, kids are a great guide here. Try playing anything unfamiliar with 10 year-old girls.
    And I’m reminded again that around ANY rule is a grey area.
    And people will ALWAYS seek to exploit that grey area.
    So we have the fundamental contested ground of a RULES-based world compared with the fundamental TOGETHERNESS of a principles-based world.
    A principle here would be fair play. Forget the prescriptive rules of head/deliberate/3 weeks formula stuff. It can never be applied consistently because every situation is different.
    Instead we look at spirit of play, the moment, and the reasonable person test.
    Maybe Matt Zurbo could be the “reasonable person”?
    When players are confused – there is a huge problem.
    Those P Dangerfield and B Grundy suspensions were appalling – Grundy even winning a free kick for the same tackle that saw him suspended.
    Play on.

  32. I’m still puzzled; what did Troy Chaplin do wrong in Adelaide that was so bad he had to move to Melbourne & play for Richmond?

  33. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks TC,OBP very well reasoned as always,The Wrap the email which,Chaplin sent to the Power players when leaving was a disgrace is part of it.

  34. E Reg, why not Zurbo for the MRP? They’ve done much worse in the past.

    And I’m confident they will again.

    Rulebook, it’s not a matter of having different rules for prelims. The fact is that the interpretations are all over the shop most of the time. They have tried to make things black & white, but footy will always be shades of grey. As E Reg correctly identifies, every situation is different in its own way.

  35. Malcolm Ashwood says

    JB while I totally agree re the rules are all over the place I have no doubt what so ever at the v v v least in the minor round,Cotchin would have received a fine as for Ellis wow.I have been disgusted re the overall governance of the game by the afl for a long time re lack of support for state leagues and grass roots footy re killing the vfa and just incompetent re state leagues not having a national reserves competition
    The MRP have been a total and utter failure and other things my anger might subside to some extent over summer but I won’t be watching;Saturday

  36. Hello Wrap
    Unsure what the Chaplin reference is, have met the man and is a wonderful bloke. Is still very close friends to teamates at Richmond and Port Adelaide. He did leave an email to Port players saying they under performed and lack leadership. He is known as vocal and a great leader.

    Zurbo comments are correct, Cotchin went for the ball, he is was first at it and harder.

  37. I’m with John Butler – this is not black and white, it’s all grey – therefore he just had to get off. You could even argue that it was Cotchin’s back (or the back of his shoulder) that clipped Shiel. Footy is a game of desperation – never more so than in a cut-throat final. These accidents will always happen when two blokes are having crack at a loose footy. It’s impossible for the AFL to legislate for such.
    For some to imply that Cotchin getting off is an AFL conspiracy is ludicrous. Players have been getting suspended from GFs for 50 years e.g. Rocca 2003, Cloke 2002, McCartney 1999, Bernie Evans 1987, Fraser Murphy 1986, Phil Carmen 1977, Neville Crowe 1967…and that’s just off the top of my head – I’m sure there’s more.
    Respect your knowledge and passion for the game Rulebook. I hope you reconsider and watch the game on Saturday. The game needs you. We need you.

  38. I’m as confused as ever. The other part of it Book; did it have anything to do with Wives & Girlfriends? Or pet sheep even?

    BTW, The Bagmen had The Cotchin Affair pegged from the start. The Cosh was shorter odds to get off than Dusty was to win the Brownlow. But I’ll tell you one thing, if I was a Mighty Adelaide Crow Fan I’d be livid. And if you repeat that I’ll deny I ever said it.

  39. Be interesting to see if Steve Hocking makes cleaning up the MRP inconsistency farce a top priority when he takes over as AFL football supremo. Hope so.

    And while he’s at it perhaps he can smarten up the goal review system. Every week decisions are made and results overturned based on blurry, indistinct images. Wasn’t the system introduced to avoid clangers such as deflections off the goalpost being missed by the goal umpire? Not ‘possible fingernail touches’ 40 metres out.

    Go for it Steve.

    Cheers, Burkie

  40. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Eric no I did not no the terrible story re below you may not realize it has become a standing joke that I must mention,Chaplin in each article and congrats to you re your relationship with,Troy.I only mention re footy terms and as I have mentioned in previous articles any thing I say about,Troy is very mild compared to what people with in Port and Sturt have said the email he sent to Port players and other actions have caused fractured relationships to this day with more than a few people at Port Adelaide.DBalassone while I agree it is a grey area in general I am more than adamant he chose to bump made contact with the head the player was concussed ( delayed concussion can be worse and and for mine after talking to doctors it is impossible to argue against the blow being a contributing factor) it goes against the whole part you chose to bump and make contact you pay the consequences the MRP was for me the final straw including the bizarre statement re Ellis.I have been disgusted with the afl re overall governance of the game for a long time the lack of support re state leagues and grass roots footy and not having a national reserves competition as a major focus for mine is a non negotiable bout of incompetence.The Wrap it is the hypocrisy of the MRP re the idiotic suspension of Dangerfield and it has just been a putrid farce the inconsistency of it just because some one has been a good player doesn’t mean they are suited to a very important administrative position hearing Nathan Burke on the abc on Sunday I wanted to punch him thru the radio.Burkie we can only desperately hope so they are both embarrassing parts of the game
    thank you

  41. Thanks for trying to explain the Troy Chaplin thing to me Lads. I think I understand it now. It’s part of the baggage, wanted or unwanted that you collect through life.

    Sporting administration in Australia and throughout the world is crap. Take the AOC, Cricket Australia, AFF and the ARL for examples beyond the AFL. By comparison, those four make the AFL look like a well oiled machine. (They were certainly slick when the dealt with the Essendon injection scandal, if that’s what you mean by well oiled Wrap – Ed)

    On a world basis look no further than the IOC & FIFA. You could throw in the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, but car racing at that level ceases to be sport and becomes a global advertising campaign for the auto industry. But I digress.

    The point here Book, and I agree with you totally, and pray with everyone who loves & lives Our Great Game, that S. Hocking drives the money gougers & hypocrites from the temple steps. It would be even greater if he could do a loaves & fishes with GF tickets for club members too. But let’s deal with one miracle at a time, eh?

  42. Malcolm Ashwood says

    The Wrap v well put and it’s almost the more you are involved and see the lies and bullshit involved in footy the bitter the taste has become I will give,Stephen Hocking a go you can add a complete overhaul re umpiring as well to the required miracles we can wish for.( the emerging saga of players from other clubs scalping grand final tickets is not only morally wrong for mine the Afl MUST take action it’s as bad as corporate greed ) thank you

  43. Life imitates Football Book. As sad as that is. But we have to live with the times we’re given. And around at Tigerland, we’re going to need all the help we can get. So we’ll gratefully take Trent’s absolution, and hope that we all don’t have to go through all the soul searching & angst again.

  44. Cotchin chose to bump,Sheil was injured ( what ever re GWS said ) Long chose to bump,Macrae not injured yet again the MRO raffle

Leave a Comment