Ebony Marinoff smacks into Brid Stack

Marinoff was found guilty of forceful front-on contact and was suspended for three matches.

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Ebony Marinoff suspension | Case shows bumpy road ahead as players strive to adapt

McCartney said he appreciated how difficult the game was but it was imperative players adapted to the AFL’s commitment to protect players’ heads and necks.

“You still have to attack the ball but also educate players that if the player in front of you has got their head down, you can’t do anything about that. You just have to make every effort not to make contact,” McCartney said.

“We could be and should be teaching every young girl and boy simple little drills, see the area, still go for the ball and that will hope them build confidence [in their technique].”

The incident that saw Marinoff charged led to paramedics treating Giants defender Brid Stack, who was playing her first AFLW game, on the ground for a suspected spinal injury but she escaped with a fractured C7 vertebra and is in a neck brace.

Marinoff told the tribunal she felt she stopped before she made contact with Stack however the three-man panel Paul Williams, Jason Johnson and Stephen Jurica said she had a realistic alternative to contest the ball.

McCartney, who will coach North Ballarat in 2021, said he appreciated the difficulty avoiding contact presented for players with the unpredictable bounce of the ball forcing players into split second decisions as they switched from an offensive to defensive position and he empathised with both players.

Although there was no doubt Marinoff did not intend to hurt her opponent the AFL had to have a broad outlook when adjudicating incidents and developing rules with the potential to cause serious injury now a key consideration for the tribunal.

Ebony Marinoff.Credit:Getty Images

“Adapting to the game in this situation is based around protecting one another on the ground but still competing,” McCartney said.

“[The decision] will only increase the awareness. It could be one in 1000 times where there is nothing you can do to save it. That’s the difficulty of our game.”

Marinoff has never been to the tribunal in her AFLW career winning two premierships and earning All-Australian selection along the way and was very emotional when the verdict was reached.

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Adelaide’s Ebony Marinoff suspended for three weeks

Marinoff argued that she had no alternative but to contest the ball which tumbled across the ground after a ruck contest and that she stopped in her tracks as soon as she realised that Stack was in a vulnerable position with her head over the loose ball.

When AFL counsel Andrew Woods asked the 23-year-old had she realised that Stack was in a vulnerable position when she approached the contest Marinoff said “That’s why I stopped.”

The star Crow also said circumstances outside her control led to the incident as her Giants’ opponent Alyce Parker had made contact with her as she stopped and that Stack’s head had therefore hit the side of her body rather than front on.

However the AFL Tribunal did not accept Marinoff’s evidence that refuted the suggestion she had made front on contact and upheld the charge of front on contact that was careless, high and severe. They also decided Marinoff had a realistic alternative.

The AFL argued that the tribunal should impose a minimum suspension of three games while Marinoff’s counsel argued that such a penalty would be excessive given the AFLW season runs for nine home and away matches.

The decision is a blow for Adelaide who have won two of the three premierships decided, with Marinoff a key player throughout the team’s history.

Adelaide are scheduled to play Melbourne in the opening round of the season with games against Gold Coast and the Western Bulldogs scheduled for rounds two and three although there is a chance the fixture could be amended due to border restrictions imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19.

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Michael Holding, Ebony Rainford-Brent stun cricket world with anti-racism broadcast

Cricket fans’ initial disappointment at rain delaying the start of play in the first Test between England and the West Indies quickly evaporated as they were treated to a powerful, spine-tingling message about racism by commentators Michael Holding and Ebony Rainford-Brent.

Former West Indian fast bowler Holding and ex-England player Rainford-Brent, both calling the match for Sky Sports in the UK, delivered some of the most powerful TV viewers had ever seen.

In a pre-prepared piece that went to air as part of the pre-game coverage, both players detailed their personal experiences of racism.

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Rainford-Brent said she was asked if she washed her skin, and Holding said he copped abuse from “sick” individuals on tour. They also spoke of their horror at George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis when a police officer crushed his neck, and urged everyone to appreciate the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I had comments about where I grew up and the fact I had a long name maybe my mum didn’t know who my dads were,” Rainford-Brent said. “About my hair, about body parts — especially the derriere, shall we say, about the food I ate and that it sort of stank.

“It was just constant. ‘Do I wash my skin? Everyone in my area gets stabbed’. All these sorts of things were drip-fed constantly.”

Breaking down in tears, Rainford-Brent continued: “I’ve been in team environments, dealing constantly with people referring to ‘your lot’. I’m not surprised that people who come into the environment don’t want to deal with that.

“It can be really difficult dealing with that day-in, day-out.”

On Floyd’s murder, the 36-year-old added: “I watched the whole thing. I watched the eight minutes and I burst into tears. The pain I felt, it felt like a valve popped because we know for how long these inequalities, these injustices have taken place.

“I remember watching it and feeling like I was being torn apart.

“I never swear on my Instagram and I wrote the words, ‘Is anyone else f***ing fed up watching black people get murdered?’”


Holding said people need to understand the Black Lives Matter movement for what it truly is — a plea for equality.

“If you don’t educate people, they’ll keep on growing up in that sort of society and you’ll not get meaningful change,” he said.

“Everyone is recognising it. Everyone is now coming alive and seeing the difference in treatment of people and we’re all human beings so I hope people will recognise that this Black Lives Matter movement is not trying to get black people above white people or above anyone else. It’s all about equality.

“When you say to somebody, ‘Black lives matter’ and they tell you, ‘All lives matter’ or, ‘White lives matter’, please, we black people know white lives matter. I don’t think you know that black lives matter.

“So don’t shout back at us about, ‘All lives matter’.

“It is obvious — the evidence is clearly there that white lives matter. We want black lives to matter now, simple as that.”

Members of the cricket media like Peter Lalor and Adam Collins were floored by the incredibly moving words, while players like Mark Butcher and Jimmy Neesham were also touched.

After the segment aired, Holding continued to speak off the cuff during the live broadcast alongside fellow commentators Ian Ward and Nasser Hussain.

It was just as raw and powerful as the clip that came beforehand.

“What people need to understand, this stems from a long time ago, hundreds of years ago, the dehumanisation of the black race is where it started,” Holding said.

“People will tell you, ‘That’s a long time ago, get over it’. No, you don’t get over a thing like that and society has not gotten over something like that.

“I remember my school days. I was never taught anything good about black people. You cannot have a society that is brought up like that, both white and black, what’s only convenient to the teacher.

“History is written by the conqueror, not by those that are conquered. History’s written by the people who do the harm, not by the people who are harmed.

“We need to go back and teach both sides of history and until we do that and educate the entire human race, this thing will not stop.”

Holding was on the verge of tears as he finished off his monologue.

“They keep telling me there is nothing called white privilege. Give me a break,” he said.

“I don’t see any white people going into a store off the street and being followed. A black man walks in, someone is following him everywhere he goes.

“That is basic white privilege. Whether the white person wanted to rob the place or not, he’s not going to be thought of that way and things like that have to change.”

Hussain, who was born in India and captained England, spoke briefly about his experiences with racism but preferred instead to focus on his colleagues’ powerful words.

“That was a very strong piece,” Hussain said. “The raw emotion of Ebony and what she’s been through and the cool, calm dissection of racism from Michael Holding was absolutely magnificent.”

Sky crossed to Rainford-Brent in the commentary box after Holding and Hussain spoke and she said she feels “everyone’s starting to get it now”.

She wants to see “accelerated change in all areas of society” but also called on cricket to do more to combat racism and value the black community more by giving it more opportunities in administration, coaching and playing.

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