Danger time for Cats star's Brownlow hopes
AUSSIE RULES: Patrick Dangerfield has defended his tackle on Carlton rival Matthew Kreuzer saying he "didn't think there was much in it” amid widespread debate as to whether it will end the Geelong star's bid for a second Brownlow Medal.
Dangerfield pinned Kreuzer's arms and dumped the ruckman head first into the Etihad Stadium turf with a sling tackle in the third quarter of Geelong's 18.15 (123) to 8.10 (58) victory on Saturday night.
Kreuzer was ushered to the Carlton rooms and wasn't seen for the rest of the match.
Geelong coach Chris Scott said the fact Kreuzer was concussed should not end Dangerfield's push for a second straight Brownlow Medal.
Speaking on Game Day, Dangerfield seemed confident there will be no issue with the MRP.
"I haven't been cited for anything. In my opinion I was just tackling I felt it was a fair tackle,” he said.
"I rolled the tackle so I wouldn't give away a free kick for in the back. I thought that he still had the ball and that is why I turned around and put my hands in the air.
"There was no umpire's call at the time. So I don't see an issue with it but it is not up to me.
"I didn't know it was an issue until I walked off the ground. Obviously (I was asked by) media at the ground then I was briefed on it and said 'I don't know what you are talking about'.
"Then they played me vision. I don't see an issue with it at all.
"It wasn't paid a free kick at all. Like I said, we will have to wait to see how it plays out.”
A clampdown on dangerous tackles in recent times cost Docker Cam McCarthy a two-week suspension for driving St Kilda's Sam Gilbert into the turf and Dangerfield's effort drew similar comparisons.
Dangerfield pinned Kreuzer's arms and went on with his tackle after the ball departed and the pair careered in to the ground.
While it appeared Kruezer's shoulder may have hit the ground first, his head also made contact.
The Blues big man bounced back up in the first instance and didn't lose consciousness.
But he was sent from the ground for a concussion test, and didn't return to the field.
Carlton confirmed Kreuzer had suffered a "mild concussion” but Scott, who had watched the incident, said that alone should not be the nail in Dangerfield's Brownlow coffin.
"For what it's worth, what I saw, was him (Dangerfield) make a tackle, he was unaware if the ball had spilled out, so he tried to take the player to ground and roll him in the tackle to avoid the in-the-back free kick, which is exactly the way we coach it,” Scott said.
"It wasn't a sling, that's for sure. I don't think he deliberately drove him in to the ground. On that basis and what we have seen the last couple of years, I would expect that he would be fine.
"When a player is hurt, and goes off the ground, there is an extra dimension there that attracts scrutiny.
"But I think the powers that be have been very clear that the severity of any injury only comes in to play when you acknowledge that there has been a breach of the rules. And I just don't see that when I watch it.
"It's not about the end result, it's about the action, and whether the tackle was justifiable in the circumstances. He had the ball, tried to turn him in the tackle and roll him. Once you acknowledge those things, the ramifications or the seriousness of the injury are moot.”
Carlton coach Brendan Bolton said he had not seen the incident in enough detail to make a call, and said Kruezer came from the ground in keeping with the club's policy on making sure players are "well protected”.
"He didn't come back on the ground and Kreuz is an absolute workhorse,” Bolton said.
"I consider him a player that gets on the front foot and can push through adversity but he didn't come back but ... we make sure that our players are really well protected in terms of welfare and anything related to the head our doctors will make really good informed decisions on so in this instance we looked after him.”
Scott paid tribute to his players for a "professional” effort in the comprehensive victory which could yet come at a double-cost after Nakia Cockatoo looked to have re-injured his hamstring.
But Scott was very pleased with the return to form of star forward Tom Hawkins who kicked six goals in a dominant performance, boosting the Cats ahead of what looms as a massive clash with Sydney on Friday night.
Bolton, meanwhile, dismissed talk of the young Blues feeling the effects of a long season, confident developing players would only benefit from greater exposure against top-line opposition.
"I think what you're seeing really is a club that's in contention versus a club that's in its second year of a reset and on a different path just right now,” Bolton said.
"They stretched us in defence and we couldn't get any delay on the ball and without any delay on the ball you look even slower probably.
"I think Geelong some of their spread and their ability to take the ball to the outside with uncontested possession ... I got to give them credit, they can make you look a little bit (tired).”
Bolton singled out Sam Petrevski-Seton as someone who would benefit from spending more time in the midfield with Patrick Cripps (leg) and Ed Curnow (throat) sidelined with injuries.