Former St Kilda coach Grant Thomas has offered a wild conspiracy theory to explain why the AFL Tribunal cleared Brayden Maynard on Tuesday night.
Collingwood fans feared their enforcer was going to be suspended for the rest of the season following his smother gone wrong, which left Melbourne Demons star Angus Brayshaw reportedly knocked out for two minutes.
But following a marathon four-hour hearing, the Tribunal ruled the contact from Maynard was ‘reasonable’, with the defender now free to play in the preliminary final on September 22 against either Port Adelaide or GWS.
Thomas linked the controversial decision to the AFL looking to avoid future lawsuits.
‘Sanity prevails. AFL still considering appealing against decision,’ he posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Former St Kilda coach Grant Thomas has offered a wild conspiracy theory to explain why the AFL tribunal cleared Brayden Maynard on Tuesday night
Maynard (pictured during the finals win over the Demons) was facing a lengthy suspension after his smother left Angus Brayshaw reportedly knocked out for two minutes
‘So they disputed and overturned MRO decision and sent it to tribunal. Now they’re considering challenging their tribunal decision.
‘All for the ‘look’ as evidence against future litigation.’
There was also drama before the hearing commenced, with new AFL executive general manager Laura Kane ignoring the Match Review Officer report finding from the Magpies versus Demons clash.
The move reportedly incensed MRO Michael Christian, who has since threatened to quit after he was overruled by Kane.
Christian remains adamant Maynard had no case to answer.
Incredibly, the saga may not be over yet – the AFL will decide on Wednesday if it will appeal the verdict, meaning the Pies defender could still be rubbed out of the finals.
During the hearing, Collingwood called upon a biomechanics and neuroscience expert in a bid to clear Maynard.
Maynard would have been banned for at least three weeks if he had been found guilty of the rough conduct charge, which was classified as careless conduct, severe impact and high contact.
Angus Brayshaw – who has a history of concussions – faces an uncertain playing future and will not play in Friday’s semi final against Carlton
Melbourne Demons players were furious at Maynard, with Jack Viney (pictured left) making his feelings known soon after the hit
The decision has left the AFL divided, given Brayshaw – who has a history of concussion issues – will now miss the Demons’ semi-final against Carlton under the code’s concussion protocols.
Collingwood’s counsel Ben Ihle said there was only about 120 to 150 milliseconds between an airborne Maynard looking down at Brayshaw and contact being made.
The Magpies called upon Associate Professor Michael Cole to give evidence in Maynard’s favour.
Cole, who has an extensive background in the fields of biomechanics and neuroscience, believed it wasn’t a conscious decision for Maynard to bump Brayshaw.
In his report, Cole said the average time to make a decision was between 200-250 milliseconds, but only in a laboratory-controlled environment in which there is a single stimulus and a single response.
In a sporting environment where there are numerous factors to consider and numerous decisions to make for each instance, Cole said the reaction time might be closer to 500 milliseconds.
‘I do not believe it was a conscious decision (to bump),’ Cole said.
‘My assessment of the footage was his primary focus was on the ball, his vertical leap was greater than his horizontal leap, but because of his speed and his opponent’s speed they collided.
At the tribunal hearing, Maynard insisted his sole intention was to smother the ball and he was surprised to find that Brayshaw had moved into his path
‘Once he’s in flight, he’s essentially a projectile. Like a frisbee with arms and legs.’
Ihle used colour strips on video stills to show how Brayshaw was the one who had ventured slightly into Maynard’s path.
Maynard said his sole intention was to smother the ball and he was surprised to find that Brayshaw had moved in his direction.
‘After I’d smothered the ball, I looked down and I thought, ‘s**t, he’s there’,’ Maynard said. ‘It was a surprise he had come into my way.
‘You can clearly see that I’m running straight. When I jump to smother the ball, he’s on my right side … and then he’s made his way across.’
Maynard insisted he never consciously decided to bump Brayshaw.
‘It was almost like a bit of a flinch reaction. I sort of seized up,’ he said. ‘And then next thing I know, he was on the floor and I was a bit rattled myself.’
Maynard also shut down the suggestion of AFL counsel Andrew Woods he should have either held out his hands to cushion the impact, or put his arms out wide to meet Brayshaw with ‘open arms.’
Post source: Daily mail