Match Review Panel 2018

CHARGES from Thursday and Friday night games will be laid within 24 hours and players launching AFL Tribunal challenges will no longer risk automatic longer bans under sweeping changes to the Match Review Panel to take effect next season.

Long-time MRP member Michael Christian will become the sole match review official under the new system, replacing the panels of former players previously used.

Where the MRP has until now been notionally independent from the AFL, Christian will report directly to AFL football operations manager Steve Hocking.

The AFL has also scrapped the one-match discount previously offered for early pleas, with clubs that elect to challenge MRP decisions now risking a $10,000 cost that will be included in their soft football department cap.

In other key changes:

  • Three low-level offences in a season will no longer result in an automatic one-match suspension, with a fine now applicable for the third offence.
  • Cases referred directly to the Tribunal will attract at least a three-week suspension save for exceptional circumstances.
  • Staging will now attract a fine for a first offence.
  • Automatic loading for players with bad records has been scrapped.
  • Fines for low-level offences will increase from $2000 to $3000 for first offences, $3000 to $5000 for second offences and $5000 to $8000 for third offences.

Hocking said the MRP changes were primarily designed to ensure greater consistency with its decision-making.

"Through the recent 2017 season there was regular public uncertainty on the rationale for key decisions, with only a small number of incidents receiving an explanation or assessed via a full open examination at the AFL Tribunal, " Hocking said.

Christian will relinquish all of his media roles from 2018, but in his new role will regularly be made available to the media to discuss MRP decisions.

Hocking said the heavy focus on Thursday and Friday night matches required the AFL to review those games the following day, which would be done on a trial basis in 2017.

The AFL footy boss said the disincentive to challenge charges at the Tribunal because of the risk of longer suspensions and the impact of bad record loading on players had been among clubs’ chief concerns about the previous system.

Hocking expects more Tribunal challenges under the new system, but believes the $10,000 cost for failed appeals will ensure there will be no repeat of the marathon Tribunal hearings that regularly occurred before the advent of the MRP.

It is also hoped the MRP changes will prompt players to show greater sportsmanship on the field, with Hocking saying some of the lower-level offences that had crept into the AFL in recent years were “a blight on the game”.

I like most of the changes, especially the early plea shenanigans, but everything’s going to get challenged now, clubs aren’t going to give a ■■■■ about a $10k fine if it means maybe getting a good player back on the field.

Also a bit sus on only having one person review everything. It should be more consistent, but also seems prone to one man’s biases.

But the $10k comes out if the soft football department cap. One disincentive to challenge removed, another erected.

That will in effect make it a $13750 fine for teams at or above the cap. Doesn’t change the calculus much.

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Now they’ve actually got to hand out a first offence.


i like that the fines are up, but shouldn’t they be aligned with match payments or salary?

imagine a first year player on 60k [+ super ■■■■■] copping an $8k fine. insane.

ps: parentheses dodge the swear filter, (dick).
square brackets do not [■■■■]. here endeth the lesson.

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leroy jetta died for this.


The AFL need to make some money back from those sexual assault allegations… starting to hit their hip pocket.


Funny thing is, I reckon it really impacted his confidence for the rest of his career. he was too shitscared to even have a shot at goal after this.

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Does anyone know what the process is for incidents getting looked at? Is it just whatever incidents get highlighted by the media and umpires, or does the MRP watch replays of the games from the normal and behind the goals camera angles? Because if it’s the latter, that seems like a lot of football for one man to watch every weekend.

No matter the rules, AFL will ignore them if they need to save a player from being suspended for a grand final.


" Staging will now attract a fine for a first offence. "

What do you get for subsequent staging offences ?

Will this apply to players like Joel Selwood for ducking ? It will be interesting how

staging is going to be interpreted .

Selwood is a couragous player who goes hard at the ball. He never ducks*…


Heath > Steve

I don’t mind the changes too much. They seem to be trying uncomplicate it.

Bloggers are at it already

Edit, actually that blogger is ok. Just saw he has a good Joe Daniher post. I’ll be gentle with him/her.

Christian must be receiving a good wage, seeing he’s forced to forego any media - He does breed racehorses which may give him another income.

I’ve always found the argument that deciding based on results rather than intention is against the spirit of the game somewhat questionable. Suffering the consequences of a skill error or bad luck regardless of intention is kind of the defining attribute of sport.

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