Nat Fyfe umpire contact, Fremantle Dockers, Kane Cornes raises Toby Greene comparison


Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes has urged the AFL to be clear on what level of umpire contact is allowed after Fremantle star Nat Fyfe avoided a suspension for touching a field umpire.

Fyfe was tussling with a number of Blues players on the three-quarter-time siren when he was pushed in the back by Matthew Cottrell with an umpire in the vicinity.

Cottrell’s push moved Fyfe towards the umpire, with the Dockers star extending his right arm out to stop himself from colliding with the umpire. He placed his palm directly on the umpire’s chest in order to halt his momentum.

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The AFL ruled that the Fremantle star’s actions “did not constitute a reportable offence”.

However, Cornes compared the incident to GWS Giants star Toby Greene’s clash with field umpire Matt Stevic in last year’s finals series, which resulted in him being handed a six-match ban.

According to the Port Adelaide great, the league must reduce the grey area that currently surrounds player contact with officials.

“I like to apply the ‘Toby Tax’ to things like this,” he told Nine’s AFL Sunday Footy Show.

“I didn’t think Toby Greene deserved six (weeks), I just want to put that on the agenda, (and) I don’t think Fyfe deserves anything. But when (Greene’s clash) is six, isn’t Fyfe’s a lesser version of that?

“It’s clearly not as serious, it’s not six, but there is contact with an umpire, and a lot of people when that happened with Toby said, ‘We know umpires are there, you cannot touch umpires’, he’s touched the umpire. I think it’s a lesser version of that.

“You need to be clear. Are you allowed to touch the umpire or not? If it’s a no, then he has to suffer the consequences of touching an umpire.”

However, veteran AFL journalist Damian Barrett said he expects Fyfe to get away without a suspension, given the role Cottrell played in the incident.

“I don’t see any issue with that. You can see the hand contact with the umpire there, I believe it’s just from the movement of Cottrell pushing Fyfe in the back. I don’t see a problem there,” he told the Sunday Footy Show.

“You’ve got to remove Toby Greene from your thoughts because it’s not right to compare that with what Nat Fyfe did. There is no comparison with it.”

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