AFL legend Doug Hawkins has been left fuming after the one-match ban handed to Bulldogs defender Hayden Crozier for a dangerous tackle, saying such calls tempt him to stop watching the game.
Hawkins, a former Bulldogs captain and one of the club’s all-time greats, was caught off-guard by the suspension handed down to Crozier, a product of the AFL’s recent rule change on dangerous tackles.
The 350-game icon admitted that decisions from the Match Review Officer such as the one which saw Crozier suspended could see fellow AFL greats turned off from today’s game.
“It makes me not want to watch it. I lose interest in watching the game,” he told the Herald Sun.
“You won’t be able to tackle anymore. I’m talking on behalf of a lot of the 80s and 90s players who I reckon would be disillusioned with the great game that we all love.
“As a past player, and a ball player, of the ’80s and ’90s I’m disillusioned. The boy (Jack) Mahony played the rest of the game out.
“You can’t tackle now, you can’t actually tackle. This is not because he’s a Bulldog – this could be any club – I looked at the paper this morning and thought, ‘(Match review officer) Michael Christian has got to be kidding, this is ridiculous’.
“There was no injury to the guy, which I think is critical, and it wasn’t a sling it was a normal tackle.
“You know what it does for me, it turns me off the game. I love the game – I love footy – but it turns me off it.
“I got brought up on tackling and playing the game, even though I didn’t tackle a stack.
“It really frustrates me to see a player who’s just doing what he’s been doing since he was a 10-year-old and he cops a week.
“Here’s a bloke who has been taught the same tackle that he did on Saturday night since he was playing under-12s, has never pinned the arms at any stage, the player was not hurt and – I now know the rule has been changed – but the potential of being hurt?”