North Melbourne great Wayne Carey has delivered a verbal shirtfront to the AFL’s match review panel, labelling Brent Harvey’s one-week ban a disgrace.
The Kangaroos will challenge a one-match suspension to Harvey in an attempt to free their champion midfielder to play in Friday night’s preliminary final against Sydney.
Harvey was issued with the one-game rough conduct ban by the panel on Monday for making high contact to Geelong captain Joel Selwood in last Friday night’s MCG semi-final.
Selwood was forced from the ground under the blood rule after the contact with Harvey opened up a cut over his right eye.
Harvey’s previous poor record and resultant carry-over points meant he was unable to have the sanction cut to a reprimand with an early guilty plea.
Carey went into bat for his former teammate.
“It is an absolute disgrace that we can rub a player out for a preliminary final for that,” he said on the Seven Network’s Talking Footy.
“A terrible decision. He’s got rubbed out because there was a bit of blood on Joel Selwood, that’s the only reason.”
Carey, who played alongside Harvey in North’s 1999 premiership side, went on to compare the verdict to heavy hits by Daniel Merrett and Tom Hawkins that went unpunished.
“The MRP has to have a good hard look at itself,” he said.
Kangaroos coach Brad Scott said he was “flabbergasted” when Drew Petrie was charged for making unnecessary and unreasonable contact to Brian Lake’s face during the pair’s scrap in round 16.
Scott, cognisant of a potential rebuke from league headquarters, was more tight-lipped when discussing Harvey’s charge on Monday.
“I suspect that too,” Scott told Fox Footy, when asked if the club’s argument on Tuesday night would be that Harvey’s blow was of insufficient force to warrant a charge.
“But I let the baker bake the bread there.
“We’ve got people charged with the responsibility of making our case and putting a defence forward.
“I’m not part of that … I don’t get too caught up in the MRP or tribunal.”
Harvey only returned to action last week after serving a separate three-game ban for misconduct.
The 383-game veteran will now miss the Kangaroos’ first preliminary final in seven years unless he is able to have the charge overturned at the tribunal.
The Kangaroos will then have an option to appeal the tribunal’s verdict, Luke Darcy saying they shouldn’t stop there.
“The system is wrong, it’s out of control,” Darcy said, sitting alongside Carey on Monday.
“That happens in basketball 15 times a game, when you try and shepherd someone and block them off the ball.
“Accidental contact … I hate things ending up in court, but I’d explore that if I was Boomer Harvey.”
Meanwhile, the match-day report of Fremantle’s Zac Dawson for striking Port Adelaide’s Robbie Gray in the other semi-final was dismissed.
The panel ruled that the Dockers defender was making a legitimate attempt to spoil the ball.