Four-time premiership Hawk Jordan Lewis says Adelaide veteran David Mackay shouldn’t be suspended, despite a heavy collision with Hunter Clark that left the young Saint with a broken jaw.
Clark was subbed out of Saturday night’s St Kilda-Adelaide game after copping a hit to the face from Mackay during the second term as both players appeared to be contesting for the ball.
“That was sickening. Let’s hope Hunter Clark is going to be OK,” Channel 7 commentator Luke Darcy said.
Clark laid facedown on the Cazaly’s Stadium turf for some time before multiple trainers attended to him. He was able to get to his feet but had blood streaming from his mouth as he came from the ground before being subbed out and replaced by Jack Bytel.
The incident will undoubtedly be assessed by Match Review officer Michael Christian, but his verdict will ultimately hinge on whether he believes Mackay elected to bump or if he was purely contesting the ball.
While the contact was heavy, Mackay’s arms were out and almost touching the ball when he made contact with Clark.
Speaking on Fox Footy, Lewis said the result was unfortunate for Clark but dubbed it a “fair contest” between the young Saint and Mackay.
“Sometimes in our game accidents happen – and I think that’s exactly what’s happened in this instance,” Lewis told Fox Footy.
“I thought it was courageous by both players when a 50-50 ball is there to win. Unfortunately, Hunter Clark was a little bit lower, but that doesn’t mean that Mackay gets suspended. I thought it was a fair contest.”
Bulldogs games record-holder Brad Johnson agreed.
“Looking at the vision, his hands are there – they actually touch the ball when his hands are down. I think he’s fighting fir the ball,” Johnson told Fox Footy.
“I just think it’s an unfortunate incident that has occurred.”
Mackay’s contact resembles an incident from Round 4 involving Suns veteran Jarrod Harbrow, who escaped suspension despite Carlton forward Michael Gibbons being forced to undergo a concussion test.
In his conclusion, the MRO said Harbrow was contesting the footy and didn’t elect to bump. It was also determined the body contact and arrival at the ball were simultaneous.
Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks even said Mackay’s contest helped spark the Crows in the second term, labelling it a “genuine contest”.