Lethal Leigh blasts makers for tearing up the game, De Goey returns, Wines backs Hinkley

Fiery AFL legend Leigh Matthews took aim at league bosses in an explosive throw, saying he felt sick from the treatment of Collingwood’s Jack Ginnivan.

A four-time AFL premiership coach who has also been ranked as the greatest player of the 20th century, Matthews says the game’s reputation is tarnished by regular rule changes.

The iconic Hawthorn player said he ‘couldn’t sleep’ after Sunday’s game between the Magpies and Essendon due to the referee’s controversial plea not to pay Ginnivan a free kick in the first quarter.

Matthews had AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan and chairman Richard Goyder in his sights, not the referees, during an impassioned segment on 3AW.

“I didn’t blame (referee Matt) Stevic, I was like, ‘what are they doing to our game?'” Matthews told Sportsday on Tuesday night.

“And when I say ‘they’, I mean Richard Goyder and the (AFL) commission, who are the only body that can actually change the rules and Gillon McLachlan and his cohort of advisers who make the game easier for the tackler and more difficult for the guy with the ball.

“It’s the fabric of our game.

“I was (everything) from disillusioned to disappointed, angry to shocked, it made my blood boil and frankly two days later, it still does.

“I swore when I stopped coaching (the Brisbane Lions) 14 years ago that I won’t let football get to me, don’t let the emotion get too much, but I love it. Game.”

After a heated debate following Sunday’s thriller incident at the MCG, the AFL clarified on Monday that Essendon’s Mason Redman should have been penalized for his tackle on Ginnivan.

The AFL say Stevic initially made the right call but a free kick should have been paid against Redman after he continued to hold Ginnivan around his neck.

“Ginnivan is responsible for the initial high contact, but Redman then continues the tackle unreasonably, holding Ginnivan around the neck,” the AFL statement read.

Leigh Matthews. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

The controversy came just days after the AFL attempted to clarify its high contact rule, following fierce debate over whether Ginnivan was officiated differently to other players.

Prior to Round 19, the league said players would not be awarded free kicks when dodging or shrugging when tackling to create high contact.

Ginnivan, in his second season in the AFL, has been an unwitting lightning rod this season for criticizing players who attempt to take free-kicks.

The 19-year-old saw the funny side of the issue, changing his Instagram profile picture to a photo of Redman’s arm around his neck.

Magpies' Jack Ginnivan is tackled.

Jack Ginnivan. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

De Goey strengthens Pies

Jordan De Goey will return to add extra firepower to top-flight Collingwood in their AFL clash with Port Adelaide as Craig McRae weighs in on a role for Brodie Grundy.

The Ruck star Grundy recovered from a lengthy knee injury and was cleared to play last week but was left out to give him more time to build his fitness base.

The Magpies are bending down to relieve Grundy in their VFL side, who had a bye last week and face Southport this weekend.

But striker Mason Cox missed training on Wednesday with “virus symptoms” and is unsure whether to play the Power at the MCG on Saturday, throwing a spanner in the works.

Grundy, who hasn’t played since round six, may have to come straight back to the top level.

“We hope (Grundy will play VFL),” said coach Pies McRae.

“He still has to train on Friday and he did it again today (Wednesday).

“He’s better prepared now to play AFL football, but whether that’s VFL minutes this week, time will tell.

“We are happy that he is progressing.”

Tough defender Brayden Maynard faces a test on his injured shoulder after being substituted in last week’s thrilling win over Essendon and performed light duties in training on Wednesday.

De Goey finished the full session in a positive after missing the last three games with a quadriceps injury.

Jordan DeGoey.

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The explosive 26-year-old has only played once since Round 13 – after missing a game while on personal leave amid the fallout from his unfortunate mid-season break in Bali – but stands as a potential X-factor in Collingwood’s premiership push. .

“Jordy has been training really well so we’re really comfortable with Jordy’s position,” McRae said.

“He was probably on his way to play last week and he took a while.

“He had a mini pre-season, if you will, in three weeks, which at this time of year can be a real advantage.

“Hopefully that translates to some form for him.”

Collingwood have moved into the top four and into the flag race and are aiming for a 10th straight win when they take on Port Adelaide.

They took the time this week to relive the last victory over Essendon, which was sealed by Jamie Elliott’s icy shot after the siren – a highlight that will live long in the memory of Magpies fans.

“We watched the last two minutes as a group and reflected and celebrated,” McRae said.

“We lived the moment for what it was; it was a very special moment.

Wines trusts Hinkley

Brownlow medalist Ollie Wines believes Ken Hinkley remains the right person to coach Port Adelaide, saying the squad have full confidence in the veteran mentor.

Hinkley is under contract for next year, but some fans are calling for him to be sacked following the club’s struggles this season.

Port Adelaide (8-10), 11th, must win their remaining four games and rely on other results to fail to grab a place in the final.

Power have been seen as a legitimate threat to the premiership heading into this season, but last year’s preliminary finalists missed their chance with an 0-5 start to the campaign.

Wines will hit the 200-game mark in Saturday’s must-see clash with Collingwood at the MCG.

The 27-year-old has spent his entire AFL career under Hinkley and he wants the 55-year-old to continue.

“As far as the squad is concerned, we have complete confidence in Ken, all the coaches and everyone at the club,” Wines told reporters on Tuesday.

Ollie Wines of the Power shoots on goal

(Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

“Confidence in our group has never wavered throughout the year, despite our 0-5 record.

“At this stage it hasn’t quite gone to plan, but our faith in Ken and everyone at the football club is still there.”

A large sheet with the words ‘Sack Hinkley’ was pasted on the Power road sign on Port Road near Alberton on Monday.

Wines said he understood the emotion of the fans and their desire to express their opinion.

Although Port’s flag hopes for this year appear dashed, Wines is desperate to taste premiership success before his career is over – but not for selfish reasons.

“It’s for Robbie Gray, Tom Jonas, Travis Boak…the guys who have been at this club for so many years and have stayed in Port Adelaide and stayed loyal,” Wines told the Power website.

“I want to get them one. I want to see these guys be able to stand up for a premiership medal.

“They set the standard. They have put this club in the right direction. That’s what they deserve.

Wines said he was proud to share his milestone day with Jonas, who would also win Game 200.

The Power will be without Dan Houston (concussion) against the Magpies, but Lachie Jones is a chance to return from a hamstring injury.

Ruckman Scott Lycett stays out with an infected shoulder.

Shane Edwards and Jack Graham celebrate.

(Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Edwards joins the Tigers’ 300 Club

Still humble after playing a key role in three AFL premierships, Shane Edwards admits joining Richmond royalty is uncomfortable with him.

The versatile Edwards will become the fifth player in Tigers proud history to reach 300 VFL/AFL games.

The 33-year-old will sit alongside Kevin Bartlett (403), teammate Jack Riewoldt (321*), Jack Dyer (311) and Francis Bourke (300) when he runs out in Richmond’s clash against the Lions from Brisbane on Sunday.

Edwards will also join other native greats Shaun Burgoyne, Adam Goodes, Andrew McLeod, Eddie Betts, Lance Franklin, Michael O’Loughlin and Gavin Wanganeen in the exclusive 300 club.

“It doesn’t suit me or it doesn’t suit me right now,” Edwards told reporters on Tuesday.

“They are legends of the game and people I have admired for so long.”

Edwards is now a three-time premiership star but had to endure a tough first few years after arriving at Punt Rd from North Adelaide in the 2006 draft.

He only made the final in his seventh season and then suffered three straight heartbreaking defeats in the playoff final.

“I always think back to the hard times to make myself appreciate the last five years and how hard it was to get there,” Edwards said.

“It was really an amazing climb where we came from when I got here.

“The club is in a different position, everything looks different, it’s quite amazing how things can change over time.

“From some of those dark times we had some of our best players like (Trent Cotchin and Dustin Martin) so you can’t remember those times too much.”

Meanwhile, Richmond striker Matt Parker is leaving the Tigers to return to Western Australia, citing homesickness.

After being selected in the mid-season draft last year, Parker played 11 games for the Tigers in his second chance at AFL level.

The 26-year-old played 19 games for St Kilda but was dropped at the end of 2020.

Parker returned to WA after leaving Saints and again caught the attention of AFL clubs with a standout performance for South Fremantle.

“I made lifelong friends in Richmond and created many great memories during my time in yellow and black,” he said.

“Now is a time when I have to put my family first and return home to Perth with my partner and my three children.”

Parker’s announcement continues a big week for the Tigers after three-time premiership hero Kane Lambert ended his career on Monday with a debilitating hip injury.

Shirley M. Pinder