AFL Rd 14 - West Coast v Essendon
AFL Rd 14 - West Coast v Essendon

‘Not good enough’: Bomber taken to hospital in taxi

File this under things you never thought you'd see: an AFL player has been taken to hospital in a taxi - not an ambulance - and two former players have absolutely slammed Essendon for their decision. 

Matt Guelfi was sent for scans after his night ended early when he was pushed into the Optus Stadium fence by Eagle Jeremy McGovern, who was reported for the incident, in the opening quarter.

The Bombers midfielder returned to the field shortly after being assessed by medical staff on the bench before leaving the field again and did not return.

Guelfi reportedly underwent a concussion test before he was sent to hospital for scans on suspected broken ribs after colliding with a security guard's plastic chair before also slamming into the fence.

McGovern was reported on the spot by the field umpire for rough conduct.

Essendon confirmed during the third quarter Guelfi would not return before the 21-year-old was seen leaving Optus Stadium in a taxi.

AFL players sent to hospital for scans and treatment are usually transported in an ambulance.

Essendon football boss Dan Richardson was unfazed by questions over the club's chosen mode of transport.

"His mum and dad, (Guelfi) being from Perth, they're over here and are with him at the moment as is our welfare manager, so he's in good care," he told Channel 7.

"He's pretty sore through the ribs and abdominal area, so we've just sent him off to hospital to get checked out.

"It's not like an emergency or anything, just with the travel and flight back we want to make sure he's OK and it's nothing too serious."

Former Collingwood and Richmond forward Brian Taylor slammed Essendon's decision to call a taxi rather than take Guelfi to hospital in an ambulance.

"Unusual way to transport a player," he said.

"I don't think it's acceptable.


Matt Guelfi after colliding with the Optus Stadium fence. Picture: Getty
Matt Guelfi after colliding with the Optus Stadium fence. Picture: Getty


"If I was part of the (AFL) Players' Association I wouldn't allow that to be a precedent.

"It wasn't even one of the nice ones.

"I would bet he'd have to fork out 10 bucks at the other end.

"It's just not good enough."

North Melbourne champion Wayne Carey agreed.

"It didn't look right did it?" he said.

Essendon coach John Worsfold defended the club's decision, declaring a taxi was the quickest way to get Guelfi to hospital.

"If this game was in Melbourne, Guelfi wouldn't have gone to hospital," he said. "He would have had scans the day after.

"Given we fly back tomorrow, we needed him to have scans ASAP, so a taxi was the best option to get him to hospital as quick as possible."

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire backed the Bombers doctor.

"The doctors know what they're doing, so give them the benefit of the doubt," he said on Fox Footy.


Matt Guelfi was taken to hospital in a taxi. Picture: Fox Footy
Matt Guelfi was taken to hospital in a taxi. Picture: Fox Footy


But he questioned what the taxi driver could do if the situation escalated.

"What if he has a punctured lung? What if he has a relapse?" he said.

Melbourne champion Garry Lyon raised concerns over the safety of the taxi.

"I'll say this, and you never, ever question the doctor (because) they know what they're doing, the taxi driver is not in a position to be transporting people who have been injured in a game of footy," he said.

"What if he crashes the car?

"We're all insured for ambulance rides, chuck him in the ambulance."

Worsfold was unsure of the severity of Guelfi's injuries post-game.

"He's getting some scans or x-rays, I'm not sure exactly what, just to check if he's got any injury to his abdominal area," he said.

"He felt as though he hurt his back and neck in the crash, so they're just double-checking that so we can find out whether he's OK to fly home. That's the main thing - he's going to catch a plane tomorrow, so we need to know that's all safe for him.