Nic Naitanui was banned for his tackle. Picture: Nic Ellis
Nic Naitanui was banned for his tackle. Picture: Nic Ellis

‘I'm confused’: Greats smash Nic Nat ban

FOOTBALL greats have whacked the AFL Tribunal after it rejected Nic Naitanui's appeal against his one match suspension for a dangerous tackle.

During Wednesday night's hearing, the AFL argued that players must consider height and weight disparity with opponents when making split-second decisions.

Naitanui, a ruckman, weighs around 20kgs more than Karl Amon, a midfielder.

Former St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt said players were being asked to think about far too much on the field.

"I'm confused. I don't like it," he said on Fox Footy.

"This was a good football tackle. It was a free kick for in the back at worst.

"But to expect Nic to make that split second decision, to realise it was Karl Amon … they were playing Port Adelaide, what if it was Charlie Dixon? The ramifications would have been entirely different.

"Charlie Dixon weighs 20-kilos heavier. He isn't going to be as easy to take to ground.

"To expect the player to make that judgment in a split second is completely unrealistic. I think based on what we have seen this year, the body of work from the MRO and the results that have gone certain ways, the (Ryan) Burton one in particular, I'm just confused."


Speaking after his ban was handed down, Naitanui said he wouldn't be changing the way he plays.

"I'm not going to change the way I go about things," he said.

"That's what brings my aspect of playing the game … it is a physical game at the end of the day, it is a contact sport.

"I'll just have to keep playing the way I play. It's just unfortunate that Amon, who was the guy that was tackled in this incident, hit his head in the last little bit of it."

The tackle divided opinion throughout the week. Here is a snapshot of what some of the greats of the game were saying after the decision was handed down.

Nic Naitanui leaves his tribunal hearing. Picture: Nic Ellis
Nic Naitanui leaves his tribunal hearing. Picture: Nic Ellis


"I wouldn't have had him miss a week for that.

"How would you be as a player? The night before your game you put your head on the pillow and you ask yourself that little question, how will I answer the challenge tomorrow that the game sometimes throws up where the ball bounces in between me and (my opponent)? What do you do? How are you going to be judged?

"Now they have got this to worry about as well. 'I've still got to get in first. If I don't, do I bump, do I tackle?' - Fox Footy



"We are asking players to think far too much now. I just think we're making it far too hard for them." - 3AW


Wow (Nic Naitanui) keep playing the way you have for so many years mate. Your chases, hard tackles are a spectacle. Big boys should play big, coming from a little guy!


"Don't forget what their max bench press might be ..."


"Joke - moral of the story, it doesn't matter if the tackle is legal, if a player gets concussed you're gone."



"I'm flabbergasted about Naitanui outcome. I really thought sanity would prevail. It's inconceivable that he had any deliberate motive or intention to injure Karl. Why doesn't AFL say you can do anything but if someone is hurt irrespective of the legality of incident you're gone!"


"Great tackle. Loved it. There should be more of it. They got it wrong."


"Suspend the action, not the outcome. Across the board with everything, if it is the wrong thing to do, it is the wrong thing to do every time."