Former Melbourne captain Garry Lyon says the current crop of AFL players need to “drive” the movement to stamp out punching in the league.
In the wake of Andrew Gaff copping an eight-game ban for his blow on Andrew Brayshaw, which left the Docker with a broken jaw and three displaced teeth, Lyon says this is the time to make a stand.
“The AFL has made a mess of it,” Lyon told SEN Breakfast.
“The players can drive it by going to Patrick Dangerfield and saying, listen, this is our legacy moment right now.
“Punching in AFL football is out of control. Whether it is a little jumper one, a little one to the kidney, Zak Jones putting one on Zach Merrett’s chin before (the bounce).
“Last night, I said to Jordan Lewis, you don’t know what you’re going to get if you punch someone.
“You don’t know if you’re going to get a fine, $1,000, $1,500, $2,000, or a suspension.
“It continues and who knows how much that has contributed to what we saw on the weekend.
“Did Andrew Gaff, because he threw a right hand before he threw the left hand to punch him in the chest, (did he do that) because he knew he wasn’t going to get a suspension.
“Stop giving it lip service, AFL players. Do something about it.
“Patrick Dangerfield, on behalf of the players, can go to the AFL and Steve Hocking and say, hey, you blokes have mucked this up. We want and expect a one-week suspension for any punch.
“We are accepting of that. Don’t try and work ways around it.
“Let’s start with something and make a stand as a playing group that sends a message to the lower leagues and what a message it sends to the junior footy players and clubs around the country.
“It is the AFL players themselves, led by Dangerfield and Jack Riewoldt and Nat Fyfe, all the great players have said, we want a week.”
Riewoldt told Fox Footy last night the Gaff situation is a “wake-up call” for the rest of the playing fraternity.