Collingwood has been handed a $20,000 fine by the AFL after injured players Jordan De Goey and Jeremy Howe used their mobile phones in the changerooms on Friday night.
Vision of the pair handling their phones was quickly picked up by TV cameras during the game, sparking plenty of reaction from the AFL community.
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Only 10 people on a travelling team’s staff are allowed to have their phones on game day, with players not included on that list.
But the fine won’t hit the players in the hip pocket with Collingwood needing to foot the bill after the case containing the players’ phones was unlocked with De Goey retrieving the phones.
The pair were reportedly contacting their familes about their injuries.
AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon said it’s not as though the rules are new with all club knowing their responsibility around the use of mobile devices.
“The rules, which have been in place for a long time to protect the integrity of our code, clearly state no mobile phone usage during the match – it is a rule that clubs and players have been educated about and reminded of every year,” Dillon said.
“Each club has authorised device users each match day that are there, in part, for the very reason the players used their phones – to contact family members if required. The players know this, the clubs know this, and we must adhere to this very simple but important rule to continue to protect the integrity of the game.
“The AFL would also like to acknowledge Collingwood’s co-operation with its inquiries in relation to this matter and remind all clubs of their responsibility to ensure the proper process and procedure is followed on match day and phones remain secure.”
On Monday night on Fox Footy’s AFL 360, Pies coach Nathan Buckley was asked about the incident and said De Goey’s head injury was the reason for the breach.
“The bloke we’re talking about that grabbed the phones had just been omitted from the game for a concussion so he’s not thinking straight,” he said on Monday’s edition of AFL 360.
When host Mark Robinson asked why a Collingwood staffer wasn’t on hand to discourage the 25-year-old from reaching for the devices, Buckley pointed to personnel issues.
“We’re a little understaffed at the moment, Robbo, after COVID so most of our people were hands on deck,” he said.
“The main issue there is that … the bloke that went and grabbed the phones, he wasn’t deemed well enough to continue to play a game of footy because of a knock to the head.
“I don’t think he was thinking straight.”
It was an argument that fell flat for AFL great Garry Lyon.
Speaking on SEN after sharing similar thoughts on Fox Footy’s On the Couch, Lyon wasn’t buying what the Pies coach was selling.
“That’s exactly what Nathan was doing, trying to mitigate the penalty. There’s a small plausible deniability in all of that,” Lyon said on SEN Breakfast.
“Okay, Jordan De Goey was concussed so he didn’t realise he wasn’t allowed to get his phone. What about Jeremy Howe?
“He didn’t have a concussion, did he? If what Nathan is saying is that Jordan wasn’t thinking straight therefore we can’t blame him, longest stretch of all-time but OK, therefore when he went to Jeremy Howe, Jeremy should have said, ‘Jordan we aren’t allowed to have these, I know you might be concussed and not thinking straight, go and whack them back in the box’.
“I know where Buckley is coming from and I know there’s been a cut in the soft (football department salary) cap, I don’t reckon they used to have someone guarding the box (with the phones in it). Lock the damn box.”