The West Australian
Riewoldt: I’d fight GF ban
St Kilda great Nick Riewoldt says he would have tried to get a court injunction so he could line up in a grand final if he felt fine from a concussion and got the all-clear from a doctor, only to be ruled out by the AFL’s mandatory 12-day lay-off.
Riewoldt made the comments on Fox Footy on Wednesday night in response to Adelaide captain Chelsea Randall being prevented from playing tomorrow’s AFLW premiership decider because she was going through the league’s new concussion protocols.
In January, the AFL doubled the compulsory break for players who sustained concussions from six to 12 days, ensuring they would miss at least one match.
Randall was involved in a heavy collision in last weekend’s preliminary final against Melbourne at Adelaide Oval.
Riewoldt said 12 was an arbitrary number of days to be on the sidelines and it provided an opportunity for players to challenge the AFL if they were cleared medically.
“This rule’s brought in and we all thought ‘imagine if a player misses a grand final because
they’ve got to miss 12 days to play’,” Riewoldt said.
“We get an example of it in the first possible situation.
“If I was in the same situation, imagine September this year, still playing, in your 30s, captain, all of those things, I’m taking it as far as I can take it … to the Supreme Court. I’m going for an injunction.
“I’m not talking about a situation where you’ve been stretchered off and you don’t know your own name — let’s be really clear.
“But if I’m feeling OK and they’re saying ‘you’ve got to sit 12 days out’ … then I’m seeking an injunction and I’m trying to play.”
Some coaches have backed the AFL moving the bye in the leadup to the major round to the week before the decider to reduce the chances of a player concussed in a preliminary final being ruled out of the seasonender.
Riewoldt, who retired in 2017 after 331 games for the Saints, including two grand finals plus a replay, said he understood the severity of concussion, but he had a gripe with the ambiguity of the protocols.
“Before I get smashed for not taking concussion seriously, I’ve had concussive episodes, I understand,” he said.
“When you give as much as players give for one thing and that’s to play in a grand final and to win a premiership.
“If I feel OK to play then I’m taking it as far as I possibly can.”