During Brisbane’s incredible one-point win over Collingwood on Thursday night, a murky moment put the AFL’s concussion protocols in the spotlight as Pies star Chris Mayne was at odds with his club’s medical staff.
The Lions kicked a goal after the siren to win their first match of the year in a game that wasn’t without controversy.
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Mayne was collected in the head by Charlie Cameron’s swinging arm when he went low to the ground in the third quarter and had no desire to head off the ground. He lay on the turf for long enough to create genuine concern about his condition, and even Cameron knelt down to see if his opponent was OK.
The Pies medicos rushed out and tried to get him off the field so they could conduct a head injury assessment. However, Mayne got back on his feet and wanted to keep playing, demanding to take the ensuing free kick.
He argued with the Collingwood medical staff and yelled at the umpire to give him the Sherrin, as the official held possession, and looked to the trainer for guidance about whether Mayne was OK to carry on.
The 32-year-old stayed on the ground for another couple of minutes before eventually being escorted to the sideline. He appeared to have a heated exchange with Collingwood doctors before the club confirmed he had been taken to the rooms to be assessed.
In a commentary for the ABC Mayne, Geelong icon Cameron Ling should not have been allowed to stay on when the doctor tried to pull him off.
“The doctor has to take over there,” Ling said. “That is one argument that should never ever be won by the player.” Channel 7 commentator Brian Taylor added: “That is amazing because he spent another couple of minutes on the ground after he was asked to come off.”
Mayne was seen in the huddle at the end of the third quarter and ran back to the bench before the bounce but had been given the all-clear to continue.
Just before the season started, the AFL rushed through a rule change that would allow clubs to use an injury substitute if a player was ruled out of a match with a concussion or any other impairment.
Beau McCreery was Collingwood’s 23rd man and was seen warming up during the break at a three-quarter time if he was required to replace Mayne, but he went back to cooling his jets after his teammate was cleared.