Hannebery decision a victory for the panel: Buckley
Essendon's Michael Hurley is left the worse for wear after a bump from Sydney's Dan Hannebery. Pic: Getty Images

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has praised the match review panel for clearing Sydney's Dan Hannebery for his head-high bump on Michael Hurley and urged players to protect themselves when competing for the ball on the ground.

The MRP deemed Hannebery had no other option than to contest the ball when he hit Hurley in the head last Friday night.

Debate had raged all weekend because the AFL had made it clear that the head was sacrosanct.

But Buckley said players still had to use the proper technique.

"If we have too many leading with their heads as Michael did, it's probably going to result in greater injuries. We've still got to be teaching technique," he said.

"While we've got to be legislating things, you've got to teach players to protect themselves.

"Michael left himself open, Daniel attacked the contest in the right manner and there was contact that stemmed from it.

"I'm glad the decision went the way it did."

Buckley said junior coaches needed to teach players to win the contested ball safely.

"If we do ground-level (training), we are talking about splitting your legs, making sure you've got your head in behind your shoulder. The idea of protecting yourself is paramount," Buckley said.

"We don't want to lose a player, but we want to hit the ball hard and go in and win the contested ball. So we continue to coach our players to win the football.

"There's nothing that you'll be penalised for if you continue to go for the footy. It's the most important tenet in the game."

·Triple Geelong premiership star Steve Johnson yesterday accepted his one-match ban for making contact with Fremantle tagger Ryan Crowley's head.

The incident was graded as low impact, but Johnson's poor record meant he was unable to escape with a reprimand with an early guilty plea.

The 30-year-old would have risked an additional week's suspension had he fronted the AFL Tribunal.

Melbourne key forward Chris Dawes also accepted a one-match sanction for striking Richmond defender Alex Rance.

Fremantle's Zac Clarke accepted a reprimand and 93.75 carry-over points for striking Johnson last weekend.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

Follow Us

More from The West