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Lyon backs MRP call on Ballantyne (The West)
Hayden Ballantyne speaks to the media after being cleared at the tribunal. Pic: Bill Hatto/WA News

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon has spoken out in support for the AFL match review panel’s controversial decision to send Hayden Ballantyne straight to the tribunal for the bump on Matthew Jaensch which left the Crow concussed in Sunday’s game at Patersons Stadium.

The tribunal last night cleared Ballantyne of the charge of engaging in rough play.

Lyon called for the MRP to have more flexibility in grading and assessing incidents like the Ballantyne bump, declaring the panel was hamstrung by the guidelines within which they operated.

He clarified comments he made on 6PR on Monday night, when he said the Ballantyne incident was put in the “too-hard basket” in being sent to the tribunal.

“It certainly wasn’t a slight on them. They haven’t got much room to move,” he said. “They clearly made a judgment that it doesn’t really fit the parameters they get to work through.

“They need some flexibility in the gradings and interpretations I think. As much as I think they wanted to say that he was contesting the ball like the decision that has been made, they haven’t got the scope for that.

“Therefore they did the right thing and referred it to the tribunal.”

Lyon said he constantly urged his players to make the ball their object.

“My personal opinion was that there was no malice," he said. "He was purely competing for the ball and since under 10s you get in between your opponent and the ball and you get after the ball.

“It was certainly at the aggressive end of that but the intention was to compete for the ball and that is what we coach our players on. You make the ball your object and you will be okay.”

The West Australian

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