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AFL medical sub rule slammed as ‘ACCEPTED RORT’ with Richmond the latest team to exploit the rule

AFL medical sub rule slammed as an ‘ACCEPTED RORT’ with Richmond the latest team to exploit the rule after subbing a player off at a crucial stage with cramp

  • Controversial medical sub rule once again a major talking point with AFL fans
  • Richmond replaced defender Ben Miller with Maurice Rioli Jnr in fourth quarter
  • Small forward had instant impact versus Fremantle, with two crucial tackles
  • Some footy fans felt Tigers exploited the medical sub rule to their advantage 

Fed up footy fans have labelled the AFL‘s medical sub rule an ‘accepted rort’ after Richmond seemingly exploited the concussion substitute directive during Friday’s draw against Fremantle.

In controversial scenes at Marvel Stadium, Tigers defender Ben Miller was subbed for teammate Maurice Rioli Jnr in the fourth quarter – and the small forward made an immediate impact with two disposals and two tackles.

Post game, Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said Miller had suffered a calf cramp in the last term, with teammate Nathan Broad adding he thought Miller had suffered a ‘full body cramp.’

The polarising medical sub rule was introduced by the AFL ahead of round one last year – and has been widely panned since. 

It sees a player able to enter the fray after club doctors have assessed an injured or concussed player as ‘medically unfit’ to continue in the match.

To be eligible for a medical substitution, the club doctor must decide that an injured player will be unable to play a game in the next 12 days.

Footy fans have labelled the AFL's medical sub rule an 'accepted rort' after Richmond seemingly exploited the concussion substitute edict during Friday's draw against Fremantle Dockers (pictured, Tigers coach Damien Hardwick)

Footy fans have labelled the AFL’s medical sub rule an ‘accepted rort’ after Richmond seemingly exploited the concussion substitute edict during Friday’s draw against Fremantle Dockers (pictured, Tigers coach Damien Hardwick)

In controversial scenes at Marvel Stadium, Tigers defender Ben Miller was subbed for teammate Maurice Rioli Jnr in the fourth quarter as a medical sub

In controversial scenes at Marvel Stadium, Tigers defender Ben Miller was subbed for teammate Maurice Rioli Jnr in the fourth quarter as a medical sub

It remains to be seen if Miller will line up next weekend versus Brisbane at the MCG. 

AFL reporter Sam Edmund lamented the lack of clarity on the contentious issue.

‘We’ve got the continuation of what might be the most farcical rule of the year. Forget the high tackle, it’s the medical sub rule,’ he said on SEN radio.

‘We were told there would be strict medical governance that would protect the integrity of it, now after six rounds we had something like a dozen players who were subbed off and played the very next week.

‘The rule was brought in not to anticipate when a player might get injured, it was brought in when a player does get injured, and I think that’s where we’ve got into the grey area here.’

Former Richmond forward Matthew Richardson admitted eyebrows will be raised following the incident.

Maurice Rioli Jnr was introduced in the fourth quarter - and the small forward (pictured middle) made an immediate impact with two disposals and two tackles

Maurice Rioli Jnr was introduced in the fourth quarter – and the small forward (pictured middle) made an immediate impact with two disposals and two tackles

‘There’s always going to be suspicion around these changes because they seem so tactical in terms of the timing of it,’ he told Channel 7.

‘It’s why you’d love the AFL to make a decision cut and dried, they either miss the next week or they can be subbed whenever they want because there’s always suspicion about it.’

Richmond doctors will be required to provide the AFL with a medical certificate to prove Miller sustained a legitmiate injury.

If found to have broken the medical substitute rule, the club could be sanctioned.

In what was a thrilling contest, Tigers youngster Noah Cumberland could have been the hero when he took a mark on the 50m line with seconds remaining.

But the 21-year-old showed his inexperience by playing on as the siren sounded, consigning the two teams to split the four competition points on offer. 




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