Legal and needs to stay that way. It’s the grey area that leaves us questioning the traditional “it’s part of the game” vs the modern day “it’s a really bad look for the game” argument.
In a marking contest it’s a free kick and is followed by a melee and a report for rough conduct, but in general play its fine.. When Roughead smashed Hannebery in 2014 GF it was revered because it resulted in a Gunston goal and lifted the hawks to another gear.
Maynard’s rib cage was exposed and the whack was legal because he was technically in possession, albeit for a split second and Ryan timed the hit (which is really to substitute a tackle) as any tackle probably would have earned Maynard a free kick for holding the man once he was dispossessed.
To me that’s part of the game and good players play on instinct. The more we try to make rules the harder it is for umpires to interpret, the more we take away instinct. A great example is contact below knees. Interpretation rewards the player who is 2nd to the contest and the one playing on instinct and first to the footy is penalised.
Edit - Maynard was first at the footy but in general play it brings in the tackle. It was a ‘hit’ but it was above the knees and below the shoulders.
If we stamp this out of the game soon they’ll bring out a round ball and some nets
You guys get a bad rap as the butt of jokes for supporters. By and large most Collingwood supporters have responded to a heartbreaking loss with class and logic and I can only hope most WC supporters have responded with a bit of the same.