Morabito ruling outrage
Morabito ruling outrage

WAFL clubs say they have been left confused by the league's stand on head-high contact and consider the reprieve granted to Fremantle midfielder Anthony Morabito is a dangerous precedent at odds with the AFL.

Morabito was cleared by the WAFL Tribunal on Tuesday night after chairman Paul Heaney ruled the bump that collected Claremont's Tom Ledger to the head last Saturday had been accidental high contact and as such did not constitute an offence.

The decision came after Morabito had originally been offered a two-week ban that would have stalled his AFL comeback after three knee reconstructions.

It is a judgment that has drawn the ire of a majority of WAFL clubs, with officials questioning the departure from the strict penalties for collisions involving head contact applied at AFL level.

Dockers star Nat Fyfe received a two-week ban in March after his seemingly fair bump led to a clash of heads with Brisbane's Michael Rischitelli.

West Perth premiership coach Bill Monaghan said the ruling on Morabito would only add to the confusion surrounding all future cases involving head contact in the WAFL.

"I was under the impression that if you chose to bump or run into a person, you are, like in the AFL, responsible for any injury or head clash after that," he said.

"The problem is now that the precedent has been set and that's what it's going to be for this year."

Claremont football manager Dean Horsington said it was made clear the head was a "no-go zone".

"If there's confusion in my mind, I'm sure there's confusion in players' minds as well," Horsington said.

"It's pretty clear what the WAFL and the umpires said at the start of the year, but as the season's gone on there's been confusion added. We'll be filing that vision. If there's a case where a player's made head-high contact when we feel they're going for the ball as well, we'll be most certainly referring to that."

East Fremantle coach Steve Malaxos agrees with the AFL's stand on head contact and he will seek clarification from WAFL chiefs. "We are under the assumption that we play under the AFL rules of the day," he said.

WAFC pathways and competitions general manager Steve Hargrave agreed the laws of the game were designed to ensure the head was "sacrosanct", but defended the existing system.

"Whether a report is deemed intentional, reckless, negligent or accidental, it is the role of the match review panel and tribunal chairman to independently determine appropriate penalties," Hargreaves said.

The West Australian

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