The AFL’s incoming executive general manager of football says there won’t be an overhaul of the league’s disciplinary process, following a season that has seen criticism of the system.
- Andrew Dillon has replaced Steve Hocking as the AFL’s executive general manager of football
- The league won’t overhaul its judiciary, following a season marred by inconsistencies
- The AFL is working through a new salary cap and collective bargaining agreement
Andrew Dillon, the AFL’s long-time head of legal and integrity, will continue in that role while replacing Steve Hocking, who has joined Geelong as chief executive.
It’s the first time since Adrian Anderson, who resigned in 2012, that the head of football’s portfolio contains integrity.
The restructure included the appointment of Chris Scott and Laura Kane to the department, in which they are responsible for on-field and off-field issues and report to Dillon.
Dillon told ABC Sport’s Corbin and Ben program the scope of the department had become too big for one person to manage.
“The remit and the operation of the footy ops department has just increased and increased,” he said.
No overhaul to MRO system
The league’s judiciary was subject to much criticism over apparent inconsistencies in its decision making, highlighted by the decision to send Toby Greene directly to the tribunal for touching umpire Matt Stevic, while choosing to fine Brisbane’s Lachie Neale earlier in the year when he grabbed the arm of Matthew Nicholls.
Several coaches also expressed frustration at decisions, or non-decisions, made by match review officer Michael Christian.
“I think we should always be searching for the most consistent outcomes we can and at the moment, that’s questionable,” Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir said in August after Andrew Brayshaw was suspended for making contact with the face of the Lions’ Jarrod Berry.
“I understand that when they [supporters] look at other incidents that maybe get off or they didn’t get cited, I can understand their frustration.”
But Dillon said the system doesn’t need a complete overhaul.
“I think it’s a system that’s stood the test of time, albeit we have continually reviewed it and enhanced it as things have needed to change,” he said.
“What we’re trying to do is look after the health and safety of the players, and also set an example for community football and football at all levels around Australia. So we’ll continue to review and assess the MRO and the tribunal system in that light.”
Salary cap announcement imminent
The league is yet to announce the salary cap for the 18 teams for next year, but Dillon is confident an agreement isn’t far off, with the AFL trade and free-agency periods beginning in October.
“We’re working really closely with the Players Association at the moment on the salary cap,” he said.
“We’re going to be working you know, as quickly as we can with the Players Association to try and land that for the clubs and also the players to give them the certainty that they want.”
The AFL is also working through a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) for the players, which will take into account the impact of COVID-19 and future uncertainties.
“What we’re looking to do with the Players Association with the CBA is just get an assessment of where the industry is at and try to take into account the uncertainties going forward to make sure that we’ve got a model for remuneration and compensation for the players that is sort of fit for purpose,” Dillon said.