The DMac/HClark case - what is the alternative action?

Was there any reasonable alternative action for Mackay? (Chasing the ball, heading for goal)

  • Yes

    Votes: 8 23.5%
  • No

    Votes: 24 70.6%
  • Not Sure

    Votes: 2 5.9%

  • Total voters
    34

Remove this Banner Ad

John Who

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 16, 2017
7,407
5,348
AFL Club
Adelaide
There’s been a lot of controversy resulting from the collision between David Mackay and Hunter Clark in the recent round 13 game between the Crows and the Saints.

Everybody has got their opinion, but on this thread, I would like to pose one simple question:
For either Mackay and Clark, what other alternative action was there? Here is the photo that outlines the play and motive:
13F8FE19-CE54-468F-95E1-755A620E5C06.jpeg


Clark - with the ball going over his head from the Saints’ defence, Clark was simply chasing after the ball. Seems fair, right?

Mackay - Mackay (on the far right), sees ball and runs full tilt at it, and heading straight for the Crows forward 50. Seems fair right?

More specifically regarding Mackay, if I can bring your attention to the scoreboard, the Crows were scoreless and playing an absolute sh*t brand of footy in the early part of the 2nd quarter. Being a senior member of the Crows, it would seem reasonable to show some leadership, and to drag his side back to some remblance of playing an actual game of footy. What else could DMac have reasonably done?

(Edit)
Additionally, here are 3 pics which sums up the impact in detail, and highly suggestive of a pure footy accident.
CD59988A-A842-4B0C-85DB-AB764FA8D014.jpeg

With Mackay some 5 metres away at this point, Berry (Crows) and Clark were going at it nearly side-by-side. Likely at this given moment, he is obscuring the periphery vision of both Clark and Mackay. Even if Mackay had noticed Clark, there was no way he would have known who would get to the ball first between Clark and Berry.
528AE502-CACE-4A19-B3EA-D60E8B1F75FC.jpeg

From this angle, you can see both Clark and Mackay both full intent on winning the ball, both showing outstretched arms just before impact.
C4D524EF-8B40-4C8B-AE71-BB813F80BAFB.jpeg

The above is the critical evidence here. At the exact point of impact, you can see both shoulders were touching between Clark and Mackay. More surprisingly, Clark appears more compact with his arms better protecting his body. Whilst Mackay’s right arm is seen to be still left dangling out. He didn’t even have enough time to curl his arm in, to better protect himself, and this is also evidence no bump was intended (arms need to stiffen and elbow to fully flex in order to bump).

Again, what else could DMac have done apart from going hard at the contest and fairly?
 
Last edited:

Ron The Bear

Up yer arse, AFL
Jul 4, 2006
35,013
35,471
Melbourne
AFL Club
Richmond
Yeah either the Crows lifted or St.Kilda deflated after this. But take the scores out of it, this could happen at any stage of a game. Plowman/O'Meara occurred with three minutes left and Carlton 21 points up.

Maybe the way to go is to clear Mackay, but treat bracing for contact the same as a bump and hold those players accountable for consequences. Might well have mitigated Mackay's approach here.

I think with the wording of the charge, the Tribunal will find it difficult to convict him if it's truly independent.
 

John Who

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 16, 2017
7,407
5,348
AFL Club
Adelaide
Yeah either the Crows lifted or St.Kilda deflated after this. But take the scores out of it, this could happen at any stage of a game. Plowman/O'Meara occurred with three minutes left and Carlton 21 points up.

Maybe the way to go is to clear Mackay, but treat bracing for contact the same as a bump and hold those players accountable for consequences. Might well have mitigated Mackay's approach here.

I think with the wording of the charge, the Tribunal will find it difficult to convict him if it's truly independent.
The scores at the time of incident, has a lot to do with it IMO. If Mackay, a senior member, weren't going at full pace at the ball, the fans would call for his head (particularly on the Crows BF board). His position in the team, quite literally would be on the line had he ran at any other pace other than full-pace.

Obviously I'm not against restricting chances of head injuries/concussions, but there has to be some leeway for footy acts that can unfortunately end up with head incidents. Bracing for contact should no way be seen as the same as a bump. It's a pure act of self-defense and it's instinctual. You can't punish someone for defending themselves in a millisecond decision (bracing for contact). Another thing to ponder, is what if neither braced for contact and just clashed front on? Heads could still collide, and perhaps both might end up with rib fractures...possible right?
 

Log in to remove this ad.

Meteoric Rise

Premiership Player
Suspended
Feb 4, 2008
3,010
8,755
Melbourne
AFL Club
Richmond
My issue with this referral to the tribunal is if MacKay is found guilty and suspended, you are essentially introducing right-of-way football.

I write this because given both players attack the ball at full pace, and their almost simultaneous arrival at the ball, there are four broad possibilities:

1. Clark braces for contact, by turning side on + MacKay stays front on leading with head, this puts MacKay at greater risk
2. MacKay braces for contact by turning side on + Clark stays front on leading with head this puts Clark at greater risk
3. Both players stay upright, turn side on, and brace for contact, certainly the way I was taught to play as a child in the 1970’s. Lower risk of injury, almost no risk of head injury.
4. Both players attack front on leading with head = huge risk of head clash, and either one or two head/neck injuries. This is more or less what happened imo.

If you actually watch the vision, both players approach the ball front on and contest the ball front on, albeit at slightly tangential angles to each other. It appears to me Clark gets to the ball a fraction earlier, and MacKay is on the line he anticipates the ball to be when he(MacKay) arrives at the ball. The trouble is this has Clark’s head running straight into Mackay’s shoulder. This was absolutely no fault of MacKay’s as far as I can see.

In my opinion, leading with the head and shoulder as done here I think by both players is what should be seriously discouraged if the AFL wants to decrease the rate of head injuries. The players should both be approaching this contest leading with hip and shoulder.

Other than that, you have to declare one player has the right of way over the other. How do you work that out though? The player with the ball bouncing away from him or towards him? That seems ludicrous. I am sure when I played most players would not have considered it safe to lean head first over the ball at speed with an opponent approaching at speed from the opposite direction. You would try to tap the ball or kick it off the ground and brace for the bump.

There is no way MacKay should be suspended, and reporting him is a sh*t way to try to formulate rules in the sport.
 
Last edited:

John Who

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 16, 2017
7,407
5,348
AFL Club
Adelaide
My issue with this referral to the tribunal is if MacKay is found guilty and suspended, you are essentially introducing right-of-way football.

I write this because given both players attack the ball at full pace, and their almost simultaneous arrival at the ball, there are four broad possibilities:

1. Clark braces for contact, by turning side on + MacKay stays front on leading with head, this puts MacKay at greater risk
2. MacKay braces for contact by turning side on + Clark stays front leading with head this puts Clark at greater risk
3. Both players stay upright, turn side on, and brace for contact, certainly the way I was taught to play as a child in the 1970’s. Lower risk of injury, almost no risk of head injury.
4. Both players attack front on leading with head = huge risk of head clash, and either one or two head/neck injuries. This is more or less what happened imo.

If you actually watch the vision, both players approach the ball front on and contest the ball front on, albeit at slightly tangential angles to each other. It appears to me Clark gets to the ball a fraction earlier, and MacKay is on the line he anticipates the ball to be when he(MacKay) arrives at the ball. The trouble is this has Clark’s head running straight into Mackay’s shoulder. This was absolutely no fault of MacKay’s as far as I can see.

In my opinion, leading with the head and shoulder as done here I think by both players is what should be seriously discouraged if the AFL wants to decrease the rate of head injuries. The players should both be approaching this contest leading with hip and shoulder.

Other than that, you have to declare one player has the right of way over the other. How do you work that out though? The player with the ball bouncing away from him or towards him? That seems ludicrous. I am sure when I played most players would not have considered it safe to lean head first over the ball at speed with an opponent approaching at speed from the opposite direction. You would try to tap the ball or kick it off the ground and brace for the bump.

There is no way MacKay should be suspended, and reporting him is a sh*t way to try to formulate rules in the sport.
I can't believe I've struck conversations with 2 Tigers' supporters within 24 hours, but here we are! LOL

I agree with your last sentence "reporting him is a sh*t way to try to formulate rules in the sport." What would have been infinitely better is they come out saying "what happened last round with Clark's significant injury, we'll be looking into it and will likely adjust some rules to reduce these kinds of incidents". Would appeal to most fans you'd think, and more respect will be thrown at the AFL. This case on the other hand, seems to be penalising someone for the sake of penalising, without any obvious gain.
 

Mr Magic

Brownlow Medallist
Mar 1, 2010
18,853
11,518
AFL Club
Richmond
There’s been a lot of controversy resulting from the collision between David Mackay and Hunter Clark in the recent round 13 game between the Crows and the Saints.

Everybody has got their opinion, but on this thread, I would like to pose one simple question:
For either Mackay and Clark, what other alternative action was there? Here is the photo that outlines the play and motive:
View attachment 1155563

Clark - with the ball going over his head from the Saints’ defence, Clark was simply chasing after the ball. Seems fair, right?

Mackay - Mackay (on the far right), sees ball and runs full tilt at it, and heading straight for the Crows forward 50. Seems fair right?

More specifically regarding Mackay, if I can bring your attention to the scoreboard, the Crows were scoreless and playing an absolute sh*t brand of footy in the early part of the 2nd quarter. Being a senior member of the Crows, it would seem reasonable to show some leadership, and to drag his side back to some remblance of playing an actual game of footy. What else could DMac have reasonably done?

This is how far football has slipped.

If people cannot see Mackay had another option they have been coached negligently.

Mackay should not have attacked that contest with that velocity.

He should have forseen that outcome and frankly chose another option like tackling assuming Clark gets it

There is going for the ball and then there is stupidity. Mackay's action was a potential Darwin award candidate.

This is the difference between players that have good feel for the game and those that do not and I think Hocking is tapping into this to weed out the boofheads

Part of the game is knowing when to hold them and knowing when to fold them.

What Mackay should have done is not go for the ball and just bump him, with the onus on him not hitting him in the head. Clark, should have been aware of this so as to move the ball on including kicking it off the ground or whatever to avoid the collision

The truth is Mackay did not have to bump him with that velocity.

Players are recruited more as athletes these days with less footy brains resulting in these type of incidents

See Maclure mentioned on AFL360 Clark should have been aware of a possible hit and protect themselves all take alternative action as a result as mentioned in the bold
 
Last edited:

Geoffa32

Hall of Famer
Aug 17, 2007
49,561
46,191
Adelaide
AFL Club
Adelaide
Other Teams
The Autobots and Team America
My issue with this referral to the tribunal is if MacKay is found guilty and suspended, you are essentially introducing right-of-way football.

I write this because given both players attack the ball at full pace, and their almost simultaneous arrival at the ball, there are four broad possibilities:

1. Clark braces for contact, by turning side on + MacKay stays front on leading with head, this puts MacKay at greater risk
2. MacKay braces for contact by turning side on + Clark stays front leading with head this puts Clark at greater risk
3. Both players stay upright, turn side on, and brace for contact, certainly the way I was taught to play as a child in the 1970’s. Lower risk of injury, almost no risk of head injury.
4. Both players attack front on leading with head = huge risk of head clash, and either one or two head/neck injuries. This is more or less what happened imo.

If you actually watch the vision, both players approach the ball front on and contest the ball front on, albeit at slightly tangential angles to each other. It appears to me Clark gets to the ball a fraction earlier, and MacKay is on the line he anticipates the ball to be when he(MacKay) arrives at the ball. The trouble is this has Clark’s head running straight into Mackay’s shoulder. This was absolutely no fault of MacKay’s as far as I can see.

In my opinion, leading with the head and shoulder as done here I think by both players is what should be seriously discouraged if the AFL wants to decrease the rate of head injuries. The players should both be approaching this contest leading with hip and shoulder.

Other than that, you have to declare one player has the right of way over the other. How do you work that out though? The player with the ball bouncing away from him or towards him? That seems ludicrous. I am sure when I played most players would not have considered it safe to lean head first over the ball at speed with an opponent approaching at speed from the opposite direction. You would try to tap the ball or kick it off the ground and brace for the bump.

There is no way MacKay should be suspended, and reporting him is a sh*t way to try to formulate rules in the sport.
Your point 3 is,stupidly, being coached out of the game.

Bracing for contact and turning side on is the safest way to enter that contest. Taught that way for decades.


The problem is, in it's infinite wisdom, the AFL now interperate that as a bump. You cause injury, suspended.

So now players go in to such contests front on head over the ball. Which is madness when both player hit the ball at the same time, as is the case here.


A guilty verdict here now leaves confusion over that action.




Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk
 

Meteoric Rise

Premiership Player
Suspended
Feb 4, 2008
3,010
8,755
Melbourne
AFL Club
Richmond
Your point 3 is,stupidly, being coached out of the game.

Bracing for contact and turning side on is the safest way to enter that contest. Taught that way for decades.


The problem is, in it's infinite wisdom, the AFL now interperate that as a bump. You cause injury, suspended.

So now players go in to such contests front on head over the ball. Which is madness when both player hit the ball at the same time, as is the case here.


A guilty verdict here now leaves confusion over that action.




Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk
I honestly think you are right. Legislating against the bumper is the wrong way to go. If you truly want to protect the head, then find a way to legislate against head first football. I have written this before that players who throw their head into contests seeking free kicks or do any other seriously unsafe actions should be stood down until they are rehabilitated out of it.

Clark and MacKay weren’t doing that here of course, but definitely bringing the upright hip first bump back into the game in these type of contests would have to reduce head injuries.
 

Big Crow

Club Legend
Aug 28, 2016
1,318
2,973
AFL Club
Adelaide
To answer the OP what could either player have done. The Adelaide player could have read the distance and pulled up allowing St Kilda to take possession and tackle him that very moment.

Goes against the fibre of the game but we could be heading that way
Both players arrived at the ball at the same time and both got hands to the ball. We could plausibly end up with situations where both players wait for the other to gain possession for fear of missing weeks.

“After you…”

“No no I insist, after you”
 

(Log in to remove this ad.)

Meteoric Rise

Premiership Player
Suspended
Feb 4, 2008
3,010
8,755
Melbourne
AFL Club
Richmond
Both players arrived at the ball at the same time and both got hands to the ball. We could plausibly end up with situations where both players wait for the other to gain possession for fear of missing weeks.

“After you…”

“No no I insist, after you”
That is spot on. How the hell would either player know who has the right of way?
 

matthew_s

Club Legend
Aug 19, 2013
1,304
2,704
AFL Club
West Coast
my take, he was never going to take possession of the ball and was always going to bump.

if he was trying to take possession, there would have been some slowing in the last few steps
 

HairyO

Brownlow Medallist
Jul 13, 2015
26,056
28,101
AFL Club
Hawthorn
The alternative is opening arms to lay a tackle putting him at the same risk as Clark.

Of course that opens the possibility of 2 inhured players not one.
 

Meteoric Rise

Premiership Player
Suspended
Feb 4, 2008
3,010
8,755
Melbourne
AFL Club
Richmond
my take, he was never going to take possession of the ball and was always going to bump.

if he was trying to take possession, there would have been some slowing in the last few steps
Travelling at top speed with a ball that potentially bounces unpredictably, do you really think either player could be confident who would get there first?

The other thing is that in contests like that taking possession of the ball is not necessarily the players main aim, he may also just be trying to force he ball forward without taking possession, a perfectly legitimate aim. This is often your fall back position when you don’t decelerate on approach.
 

sprockets

Norm Smith Medallist
Oct 15, 2004
5,157
8,629
Melbourne
AFL Club
Richmond
Other Teams
Richmond
Both players arrived at the ball at the same time and both got hands to the ball. We could plausibly end up with situations where both players wait for the other to gain possession for fear of missing weeks.

“After you…”

“No no I insist, after you”
Why did one player get hit in the head and the other not?
 

John Who

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 16, 2017
7,407
5,348
AFL Club
Adelaide
The alternative is opening arms to lay a tackle putting him at the same risk as Clark.

Of course that opens the possibility of 2 inhured players not one.
That's an alternative, but is it a realistic alternative? Effectively asking someone to sacrifice themselves and allowing maximum injury potential for themselves during a pending collision.
 

John Who

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 16, 2017
7,407
5,348
AFL Club
Adelaide
I think it's important to dissect the situation with these last few frames (in milliseconds) prior to impact:
IMG_E9336.JPG

IMG_E9337.JPG

IMG_E9338.JPG

IMG_E9339.JPG

IMG_E9340.JPG


I think there are 2 sets of action here regarding Mackay's output:
1. "See ball, get ball", quite literally. He ran a straight line and just prior to impact, he was putting his hands out to gather the ball. He was never intending to bump.

Meanwhile, in the last 4 frames prior to impact, Berry (Crows) and Clark were jostling for position, essentially side-by-side, both trying to win the ball. It would appear that Berry was obscuring the vision of Mackay from Clark, and likewise, Clark from Mackay. In other words, highly probable that neither Mackay nor Clark noticed each other until literally the last frame prior to impact (split millisecond).

2. After seeing Clark just before impact, Mackay had to make an instant decision - he chose to brace for contact, protecting himself. Perfectly fair and legal, one would think?
 

John Who

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 16, 2017
7,407
5,348
AFL Club
Adelaide
This is how far football has slipped.

If people cannot see Mackay had another option they have been coached negligently.

Mackay should not have attacked that contest with that velocity.

He should have forseen that outcome and frankly chose another option like tackling assuming Clark gets it

There is going for the ball and then there is stupidity. Mackay's action was a potential Darwin award candidate.

This is the difference between players that have good feel for the game and those that do not and I think Hocking is tapping into this to weed out the boofheads

Part of the game is knowing when to hold them and knowing when to fold them.

What Mackay should have done is not go for the ball and just bump him, with the onus on him not hitting him in the head. Clark, should have been aware of this so as to move the ball on including kicking it off the ground or whatever to avoid the collision

The truth is Mackay did not have to bump him with that velocity.

Players are recruited more as athletes these days with less footy brains resulting in these type of incidents

See Maclure mentioned on AFL360 Clark should have been aware of a possible hit and protect themselves all take alternative action as a result as mentioned in the bold
"The truth is Mackay did not have to bump him with that velocity."

I think the use of the word "bump" here is misguided. Mackay was bracing for contact just prior to impact. This is entirely different to him running and then bumping Clark. The motives and actions are different.
 
Last edited:

Rory Walkerfield

Norm Smith Medallist
Oct 6, 2012
9,784
18,097
AFL Club
Adelaide
To answer the OP what could either player have done. The Adelaide player could have read the distance and pulled up allowing St Kilda to take possession and tackle him that very moment.

Goes against the fibre of the game but we could be heading that way
I think the issue for Mackay is that the ball was kicked over Clark’s head. So Clark was chasing after the ball and Mackay was running toward a ball that was coming in his direction. It is very difficult to predict with a ball the shape of a football whether it will “kick on” and accelerate toward you or bounce upward more slowing down.

perhaps if the AFL want players to judge who will get to the ball first in this situation we should change to a round ball which will bounce more truly :drunk:
 

Meteoric Rise

Premiership Player
Suspended
Feb 4, 2008
3,010
8,755
Melbourne
AFL Club
Richmond
"The truth is Mackay did not have to bump him with that velocity."

I think the use of the word "bump" here is misguided. Mackay was bracing for contact just prior to impact. This is entirely different to him running and then bumping Clark. The motives and actions are different.
MacKay only just barely braces as well, you can see from the stills he is largely still front on the the ball when they collide.

In terms of collision this is not really too different from several that attracted no penalty this season. In terms of serious injury, there have been others waved through where serious injuries occurred. So I don’t get it why this particular incident has been plucked out of a hat to be referred.

The AFL(read: Hocking) seems to be arguing for 3 weeks. That is what Dangerfield got for his mess of a late collision with Kelly where there was not even any question of contesting the ball and Kelly had his face smashed very seriously. It does not compute.

But then not much emanating from Hocking’s desk in terms of MRO decisions is making a lot of sense over the last 12 months.
 

Remove this Banner Ad