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Protect man on the mark: Scott

Peter Ryan - AFL Media  April 21, 2017 11:50 AM

Chris Scott press conference Hear from Cats coach Chris Scott ahead of the big game against the Saints
AFL 2017 Round 04 - Hawthorn v Geelong

Tom Ruggles is helped from the field after being knocked over by Hawthorn's Josh Gibson

PLAYERS standing on the mark need the same protection as the ball carrier according to Cats coach Chris Scott.

He has called for further discussion on the issue after the incident on Easter Monday that left Geelong's Tom Ruggles concussed when he clashed heads with Hawthorn defender Josh Gibson.

Gibson elected to bump Ruggles soon after the Cats' defender left the mark to chase his Hawthorn opponent, Isaac Smith, and Ruggles was blindsided when contact was made.

Scott emphasised he was comfortable with the Match Review Panel's decision to clear the Hawk defender after Gibson elected to bump Ruggles to provide a block for Smith and clashed heads with the tough Cat.

"I understood the reasons," Scott said. 

"He wasn't picked off standing the mark but he was blindsided (after) standing the mark."

He said the incident highlighted an anomaly in the rules where opponents could stand right next to the player on the mark - but the player on the mark had to give the free kick recipient 10 metres space. 

"The ball carrier is really protected now so technically you can't go within 10 metres of that player, but the man on the mark gets no protection at all," Scott said. 

"The opposition can virtually stand 10cm behind him and block him. My view, without having worked through it in any great detail, is that the man on the mark should be afforded similar protection."

The MRP explained the reason for clearing Gibson on Tuesday saying the "degree of force in Gibson’s block was not excessive for the situation, the panel’s view was that Ruggles was involved in the play when contact was made by Gibson as he was seeking to pressure Smith. Gibson did not run a long distance to support his teammate and Gibson did not jump or leave the ground to make contact with his Geelong opponent." 

Panel member Michael Christian also rang SEN to explain that Gibson took seven steps before making contact with Ruggles after commentator Kevin Bartlett criticised the MRP's decision.