Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley has backed his club’s doctors after teammates Jack Butters and captain Tom Jonas failed to get a connection test after an ugly head injury.
The pair clashed violently during the fourth quarter of a 12-point loss to Richmond on Thursday night, with both players coming off the field for treatment.
Butter’s cheeks began to bleed and Jonas fell over his right eye.
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After spending six and eight minutes on the bench, respectively, both players returned to the match, with outsiders questioning whether the conciliation protocol was followed properly.
“If there were five minutes in the first quarter, the two boys were testing the connection downstairs,” said Adam Ramanauskas, a former Ascendant player on ABC Radio.
“The reality is the game is on the line. I don’t like it. That said, I’m never going to challenge a doctor but … I’m questioning the process.”
Asked at his post-match press conference about the incident, Hinkley Power denied any attempt to question Dr. Mark Fisher’s decision.
Under the AFL’s Convention Protocol, any player who shows any signs of injury or injury must be temporarily replaced from the match for a 20-minute assessment.
“I collect that there will be some conversation around the clash, but people get cut in the football game and they don’t get hurt,” he said.
“I found a doctor who has been with our football club for 25 years and there was a conversation between our doctor and our football manager during the game.
“If anyone has been challenged and they feel more qualified than Mark Fisher, a 25-year-old AFL doctor, feel free.
“I think you really want to be, really sure you’re not trying to umpire or make some calls from outside the fence when you have no knowledge. We have a very experienced doctor who has the highest respect in the AFL.”
He continued: “I believe the people who are running that part of our organization in those aspects of the game. There was an injury, a head-on collision, both boys split, both boys were bleeding, I can tell you what happened, They both deal with their confidence as they choose to embark on their play activities.
“I talked to both boys directly in the room after the game, they weren’t lying down and they weren’t fainting and they weren’t doing anything stupid. They were talking to me very clearly, ‘I’m going to do one. Big black eyes, but I’m pretty Good. Everything is fine. ‘
“Two boys, they’re tough players too. We shouldn’t forget how hard it is, because it’s a hit. For those who don’t think the game is tough, it’s a hit.”
Hinkley was then asked if the fact that the game was on the line influenced the final decision at the time of the incident.
“Well, I think you’re questioning the doctor. I think you’re questioning the doctor because he decided not to. Do you question the doctor?” He said.
“Are you questioning the doctor because he made a decision that shouldn’t have happened?”
“I’m not sure how well I can answer for you. Are you asking a doctor with 25 years of experience if he made a bad decision or if he made a wrong decision?”
“I’m not surprised that you guys asked questions like that. I wasn’t at all surprised by how you asked me. They were good.
“Do you think a 25-year-old doctor would now take the risk of serious injury to the injuries he is going through?”
“I understand what you’re saying, but I’m telling you again, I’ve made these decisions to the most experienced doctor in the AFL. Where do you want him to go? Go back to medical school? I don’t know.”
As usual, the AFL will be contacted this week to review the match, but the league could promote why the league did not act more carefully on the health of its players.
“I suspect they (the AFL) will ask questions about a lot of things, injuries, events, all sorts of things, but it’s a normal process for the AFL,” Hinkley said.
“It’s a collision that happens all the time in a game. Yeah, they’re never on time, they’re never great. You’re in a close game, you need them there, but the game is played that way and we’re not surprised that sometimes you Get people to cut. “
Discussions began after criticism from both NSW Blues doctors and independent NRL physicians for not pulling Penrith captain Isaah Yoke from the Origin opener after a head-knock in the opening game.
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