The AFL’s controversial medical substitute rule has once again been placed in the firing line after Greater Western Sydney debutant Callum Brown made his league debut despite not playing any game time against the Brisbane Lions on Saturday at The Gabba.
Brown, a third-year Irish recruit, became the club’s fifth debutant of the season when he was named as the medical sub for Saturday’s contest, which the Giants lost by 64 points.
In the fourth term, veteran Shane Mumford was locked in “a really stern conversation” with Giants staff about his ability to continue playing despite an apparent injury concern, before he was given the all-clear to continue and Brown was told to cease warming up and return to the bench.
Brown would fail to enter the game by the time the final siren sounded, a prospect that left Fox Footy commentator Gerard Healy fuming.
Callum Brown receives his debut jumper ? pic.twitter.com/IsqTMRmBFR
Shane Mumford has NOT been subbed out of the game, Callum Brown remains the medi-sub. https://t.co/pPxDEfEMKX
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“I think what it does do is it highlights again some of the flaws in this injury sub,” he said as Mumford returned to the ground.
“You should not be having kids make their bloody debut sitting on the bench and everybody turns up to the ground and the kid doesn’t get on.
“It’s just a nonsense.”
Co-commentator Kelli Underwood agreed, labelling it “a horrible look”.
“What about the emotions of Callum Brown — he’s 20 years of age, he’s from Ireland, his parents and his family have got up at 5am in the morning (GMT), they’ve done the jumper presentation during the week. It is terrible.”
For Healy, the concept of the medical substitute in general had been mismanaged after originally being considered as a concussion sub before its eventual introduction under more broad criteria.
“The biggest joke of the lot is that it was brought in for concussion and somebody can get a hamstring in the first minute and when somebody gets a concussion in the second you‘ve got no one to come on for the concussion sub,” he said.
“You might as well just make it an extra interchange player.”
Originally published asBizarre AFL scenario exposes ‘horrible look’
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