By JACKSON MILLER
The first three rounds of the 2019 AFL season have thrown up some unexpected results and surprises.
These include violence at the first match, shocking racism against a West Coast player, and a surprising ban on a Collingwood stay that was subsequently overturned.
There were plenty of talking points in this season’s opening rounds and here are the top five:
The season opener between Richmond and Carlton ended with a 33-point win for the Tigers, but the celebrations turned sour after a brawl broke out between the spectators not long after the final siren.
The fight took place in the Great Southern Stand, which led to a 19-year-old youngster being arrested. He was later fined $322 for riotous behaviour.
In Round 2, American Magpie Mason Cox was given a one-match ban for a bump on Richmond player Dylan Grimes, which was then overturned at the AFL Tribunal when the club challenged it.
If the ban had been upheld, he would have missed the Round 3 match against West Coast.
Match review officer Michael Christian labelled the bump as intentional conduct with low impact to the head and there were initial reports Grimes had suffered a possible concussion.
This, as well as video footage, was thought to show Cox’s guilt.
Players from other clubs, experts, and the general football public were outraged at the decision. However, after hearing evidence such as the Richmond doctor confirming that Grimes did not have a concussion and seeing another video showing a different angle, the jury took just five minutes to declare Cox not guilty. His ban was reduced to a $3000 fine.
Richmond have already suffered the loss of three star players to injuries: Alex Rance (knee reconstruction), Jack Riewoldt (wrist) and Bachar Houli (hamstring).
In addition, captain Trent Cotchin and defender Jayden Short have been added to the injury count after the club’s Round 3 loss to Greater Western Sydney.
Cotchin hurt his hamstring in the third term while Short landed heavily in the opening minutes of the first quarter, with his elbow bending at an awkward angle.
West Coast forward Liam Ryan has had a lot of issues to deal with of late. Apart from potentially not playing after being investigated for striking, the star player received a lot of abuse from social media trolls.
After a post on 7AFL’s Instagram account asked fans if Ryan should be suspended for a clash with Brisbane’s Darcy Gardiner, fans used the opportunity to direct slurs at the 22-year-old Indigenous player.
The club said they were “appalled by the vitriolic comments”.
The AFL has asked fans in Victoria to plan ahead if taking public transport to the games. With upgrades taking place on numerous train lines, commuters will have to plan extra travel time in order to make it to the games.
Most of these works will give travellers the option of taking replacement buses. The majority of these upgrades will finish by the end of round five but there are likely to be other such upgrades throughout the rest of the season, which fans should be wary of.