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AFL 2020: McStay and Jetta both responsible for sickening bump

The Advertiser 2020-07-30 12:24:00

LIONS coach Chris Fagan says Brisbane forward Dan McStay was “unlucky” to be suspended for a bump on Melbourne’s Neville Jetta and that both players needed to accept responsibility for the incident.

McStay will miss Brisbane next two matches - Friday night’s battle with Essendon at Metricon Stadium and Tuesday’s clash with Richmond at the same venue - after being banned for his hit on Jetta in the Lions’ four-point win over the Demons last Sunday.

AFL match review officer Michael Christian deemed the offence careless, with high contact and high impact.

Lions depth faces toughest test

Fagan sympathised with McStay, with Jetta having led headfirst into the collision.

“He (McStay) was a little bit unlucky because I don’t think he intended to do what happened,” the Lions coach said.

“The other player contributed but that doesn’t mean to say that (McStay) shouldn’t have been suspended.

“We’ve just got to make it really clear to our players that they’ve got to do all that they can to avoid those sorts of collisions, both the player that does the bump but also the players who have the footy, that they don’t use their head in a manner that Neville did, which is just a technique thing but it definitely contributed to the situation.”

However, Fagan admitted it was tough to drill that into players.

“It is really hard. All you can do is talk about it and hope that they respond in a particular way, but it’s hard – they’re split second things,” he said.

McStay is one of four Lions’ casualties from their win over the Demons, with defenders Daniel Rich and Ryan Lester (both hamstring), and ruckman Archie Smith (ankle) also sidelined.

While disappointed for the quartet, Fagan excited about the opportunity it would present to handful of other players who have been patiently waiting in the wings.

“We’ve won two of the last three NEAFL premierships and over the last 18 months we’ve had a lot of guys who have been busting to play senior football but not getting opportunities because we’ve had very few injuries and we’ve been in good form,” Fagan said.

“I’m really confident that the group of players that we have underneath will be hungry and talented enough to equip themselves really well and come in and fulfil their roles in the team.”

Fagan said a “: good example” of such a player was 21-year-old forward Connor Ballenden, who will make his AFL debut on Friday night.

“(He’s) going to get his opportunity after about three years on the list,” Fagan said of the 200cm, 101kg, Ballenden, who kicked four goals recently in a practice match between the Lions and West Coast Eagles reserves.

“He’s one of the Lions Academy players, he’s done some hard yards ... and I’m sure when he gets his opportunity he’s going to step up to the plate.”

Originally published as Fagan: McStay bump was unlucky mistake