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AFL's response to Jacob Weitering incident sparks angry backlash from fans

The Carlton defender wasn't made to undergo a head injury assessment during their win over Melbourne.

Jacob Weitering, pictured here after the incident against Melbourne.
Jacob Weitering appeared to stumble after the incident against Melbourne. Image: Channel 7

The AFL has ticked off Carlton's handling of the controversial Jacob Weitering incident after their thrilling win over Melbourne on Friday night. Many were left questioning why Weitering wasn't made to undergo a head injury assessment after he appeared to cop a knock to the head in the dying stages of the game at the MCG.

The defender could be seen stumbling backwards after getting to his feet in what appeared to be a sign he was feeling groggy. But he was never made to leave the field for a concussion test, and provided a crucial intercept mark to set up the Blues' match-winning goal.

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AFL fans and commentators were left crying foul that Weitering was allowed to stay on the field. Carlton later claimed that he suffered a knock to the throat and was struggling to breathe.

On Sunday night, Tom Browne of Channel 7 reported that the AFL had given Carlton the all-clear in terms of how club doctors handled the situation. A statement provided to Channel 7 said: “The AFL is comfortable that, in circumstances where Weitering relevantly suffered an impact to his throat and neck, he was properly assessed and managed."

Patrick Cripps also failed to have an HIA despite being collected in the head by a high bump from Kysaiah Pickett. Cripps came from the field under the blood rule, but returned not long after.

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According to Fox Footy reporter Jon Ralph, Carlton doctors actually tried to get Weitering off the field but couldn't. "My understanding is the Carlton doctors were trying to get him off in those frantic final moments, were not able to do that,” he said on Friday night.

“He certainly looks fine in the rooms afterwards. The AFL will want to get an explanation from Carlton. They might well ask why Patrick Cripps was not taken out of the game at least for a concussion test after that hit with Kysaiah Pickett.”

Jacob Weitering and Charlie Curnow, pictured here after Carlton's win over Melbourne.
Jacob Weitering celebrates with Charlie Curnow after Carlton's win over Melbourne in their AFL semi-final. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Blues coach Michael Voss revealed on Saturday that Weitering was struggling to breathe after the knock, but given the all-clear following further assessments after the game. "He was just struggling to breathe there for a little bit," Voss told SEN.

“We’re comfortable with where that sits. He got struck to his throat and he couldn’t breathe so I reckon that’s a reason to stop for a couple of seconds, I would have thought. So I think we’ll be okay there."

Hawthorn champion Jordan Lewis wasn't buying the explanation that doctors weren't able to get Weitering off the ground. “He was clearly shaky and wobbly on his feet,” he said on Fox Footy. “For me, that’s a sign to just get them off straight away, so I don’t accept that the doctors couldn’t get out there or they didn’t see it or whatever happened. He was clearly groggy.”

Garry Lyon added: “They’ll sort it out but that is inconsistent with that we’ve been told all year. We saw Harry McKay hardly get a touch to his head last week … it doesn’t necessarily have to be that hard. Gotta save people from themselves.”

Fans were further incensed by the AFL's response on Sunday. Earlier this year, Port Adelaide were hit with a $100,000 fine after Aliir Aliir didn't undergo concussion tests following a heavy knock in a collision with teammate Lachie Jones.

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