Carlton’s Chris Judd has just been handed a four week suspension from the AFL Judiciary for his use of the chicken wing ‘tackle’ on North Melbourne’s Leigh Adams. In a hearing that lasted almost three hours, the result of which has been five years in the making and comes as a result of the AFL Tribunal not making the right decision at the right time.

In 2007 Chris Judd was charged with eye gouging Hawthorn’s Campbell Brown in an incident which was the cause of much debate on what his penalty should be, he was astonishingly found not guilty despite the damning video evidence on offer which disgusted many AFL fans who believed he should have been suspended for his actions.

Chris Judd entered the tribunal for the wrong reasons again in 2009 in the now infamous ‘pressure point’ incident where he made slight contact with Brisbane’s Michael Rischitelli’s face and was given a harsh three match ban which looked to be decided more on the fact that Chris Judd should have been suspended for the eye gouging incident on Campbell Brown two years earlier.

Again in 2010, Judd came under the spotlight for some unsportsmanlike behavior. Judd clearly and intentionally swung his elbow back and into the face of Fremantle’s Matthew Pavlich, cutting Pavlich below the eye, this incident was not deemed to be worthy of a suspension to the tribunal, yet again allowing Judd to walk free when he had deserved some sort of a suspension. This latest indiscretion on Adams, while deserving of a suspension, did not need to result in a four week suspension and could have easily been two or three weeks but because the AFL Tribunal knows they made a mistake they have given him a harsher penalty to make up for the lack of penalty given for a previous incident.

It is not just the AFL Tribunal making these delayed decisions, the All Australian team selectors have also made this error a number of times by leaving someone out one year when they deserved to be in and then selecting them the next year when they arguably didn’t deserve it. The prime example of this is West Coast’s Mark LeCras, who in 2009, kicked 58 goals as the premier small forward in the competition but was astonishingly overlooked for selection, the following season he kicked 46 goals (12 of which came in one match) in a year that many acknowledge was nowhere near as good as the previous but was selected as an All Australian anyway. This was just another example of the AFL not making the correct decision at the time and trying to remedy it at a later date.

These decisions need to be made correctly the first time and not have someone’s ‘status’ or otherwise be an influencing factor in the process. Yes, they have remedied these mistakes but on a delay that has, in the case of Mark LeCras, given an All Australian selection to someone who doesn’t deserve it while not giving one to someone who does and in the case of Chris Judd forced his team to be without their captain for more weeks than he deserved for this particular crime.


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