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Former MRP member declares Williams would've escaped suspension in previous years


Jimmy Bartel believes Zac Williams would’ve only been handed a fine five years ago for the head-high bump on Hunter Clark which saw him suspended for Round 1.

Carlton’s high-prized recruit collected the St Kilda midfielder high in the opening seconds of their AAMI Community Series clash last Thursday night, with the Blues failing to have an initial one-game suspension overturned at the AFL Tribunal.

Bartel, who sat on the match review panel in 2017, said it was clear the AFL under match review officer Michael Christian have been cracking down on head-high hits in recent seasons.

He believes that had the same incident occurred when he was sitting on the now defunct panel, Williams would’ve escaped suspension.

“In recent years (match review officer) Michael Christian and the AFL have started saying they are going to start elevating (the gradings) so there were a different set of rules (compared to previous years),” he said on Sportsday.

“The other thing is about the actual force, when (Hunter Clark) did the concussion test and how that came out. If Hunter Clark got up and kept playing, you’re starting to look at a low (grading).

“It’s still a football act so it puts him in that careless category, so he probably would have been fined five years ago.

“But now it’s been clear that these (type of incidents) are starting to be elevated.”

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