AFL boss Gillon McLachlan comments on Patrick Cripps’ suspension after winning Carlton-Star’s Brownlow medal

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has reacted to Patrick Cripps’ two-game suspension being lifted in comments released after the Carlton star’s Brownlow medal triumph.

Cripps passed 2020 winner Lachie Neale by three votes in the Blues’ finals loss to Collingwood – a game he would have missed under the ban over an incident in which Brisbane’s Callum Ah Chee suffered a concussion.

Carlton was initially unsuccessful in a tribunal challenge, but a last-ditch appeal secured Cripps’ freedom on procedural grounds – or what McLachlan claims was “complete nonsense.”

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Blues board member and attorney Christopher Townshend had argued the rough conduct charge was “infected with flaws” and that Cripps was “denied natural justice”.

In an opening statement that lasted almost two hours, Townshend claimed “a sweeping error in the run-up to the Cripps ban should invalidate it”.

Carlton tried to get the ban lifted to increase their chances of making the Finals but still failed, and the decision instead helped Cripps win the Brownlow.

Gillon McLachlan speaks at the Brownlow Medal. Recognition: Daniel Pockett/AFL photos/via Getty Images

In a recent interview for the big closing issue of AFL Record, McLachlan expressed his anger at the appeals process and said it was now up for review.

“People know that I was very excited by this decision,” said the longtime CEO.

“It made no sense to me in any way and it’s frustrating that a legal view of due process or procedural justice – utter nonsense – really detracts from a clear mandate to protect the head.

“We confused our supporters and set ourselves back and that really frustrates me.

“If you can have something that important that protects the head and supports a clear testimony from the MRO (Match Review Officer) and from the tribunal and then the player walks out on legal grounds and nobody really understands what the hell happened, I find it challenging.

“So I asked the guys to review the system and we’ll see where that lands.”

McLachlan declared Cripps the Brownlow medalist Sunday night but, per normal procedure, did not interact with the Carlton captain as part of the formal procedure.

Patrick Cripps won the Brownlow by three votes in the last game – when he was supposed to be suspended. Recognition: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

The AFL chief has previously been sidelined in the tribunal and appeals process, most notably in the case of GWS Giants star Toby Greene last year.

The league appealed the tribunal’s “manifestly inadequate” three-game suspension for contacting a referee and won, with Greene’s suspension doubled to six games at an extraordinary hearing in October.

Cripps, meanwhile, admitted after his appeal hearing that much of the legal debate was over his head.

“Once it gets to the legal stage, it’s way out of my pay grade,” he told 7NEWS.

“Half of the things they talked about, I didn’t really know what was going on.

“I was at the club, was there for a couple of hours, and then I actually went home and then I took a shower and then I clicked again.

“I just had dinner and turned it on in the background. I had never experienced anything like this. I think a few (teammates) were chasing little things but by the time it was done they would all have been asleep.”

Wild brawls marred last weekend of local soccer games

Wild brawls marred last weekend of local soccer games AFL boss Gillon McLachlan comments on Patrick Cripps’ suspension after winning Carlton-Star’s Brownlow medal

James Brien

James Brien is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. James Brien joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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