Sliding a grey area: Tendai
Fremantle midfielder Tendai Mzungu admits players still view sliding as a “grey area” after teammate Greg Broughton was cleared by the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday night.
Broughton successful challenged a rough conduct charge after he slid to win possession of the ball and injured Gold Coast midfielder David Swallow at Metricon Stadium last Saturday.
The decision to clear Broughton, who won possession of the ball before making contact with Swallow, follows the tribunal’s decision to clear North Melbourne’s Lindsay Thomas of a similar charge in round four.
Mzungu said players were working through what was acceptable after the Match Review Panel initially offered Broughton a reprimand for the slide.
“It’s still a little bit of a grey area, but we’re working really hard to learn the rules and what the procedure is there,” Mzungu said on Wednesday.
“The club’s been issued documents and we’re working with [the AFL] to nut it out. We’re working on getting on top of it and I’m sure we will.”
Mzungu said collision injuries resulting from players sliding to win the ball were a problem, with Sydney Swans youngster Gary Rohan ruled out for the season after he suffered a broken leg in his collision with Thomas.
However, the 26-year-old said players needed to attack the ball on instinct and sliding was not outside the rules of the game.
“There have been injuries and it’s not something we want,” he said.
“At the moment you hunt the ball and the ball is your priority. You see the footy and your instincts tell you to go and get it.
“If there’s a rule in place that specifically says you can’t go and do that (slide) then we’ll have to change, but until then we’ll just try and get the ball.”
Fremantle looks set to be boosted by the return of ruckman Aaron Sandilands against Port Adelaide on Sunday, with the star big man training strongly on Wednesday.
Ruckman Jon Griffin has been strong in the absence of Sandilands and coach Ross Lyon has repeatedly said that he would like to get both big men in the same team this season.
Mzungu said Griffin had been an asset against Carlton and Gold Coast in the past fortnight and playing two genuine ruckman against Port Adelaide on Sunday could benefit the team.
“They’re both talented players,” he said. “Aaron’s record speaks for itself, but when Griffin has gone in there he’s competed really well.
“If they could both function in the same team that would be great for us. You’d love to have them both in the same team.”