Author Topic: RFC Memorable Moments #5: "Every Dog Has Its Day"  (Read 13740 times)

Offline one-eyed

  • Administrator
  • RFC Hall of Fame
  • *****
  • Posts: 79608
    • One-Eyed Richmond
RFC Memorable Moments #5: "Every Dog Has Its Day"
« on: March 07, 2006, 04:04:32 AM »
RFC Memorable Moment #5:

"Every Dog has its Day"

Richmond opened the 2001 season with a comfortable 5 goal win over the Dees with Richo back and firing after missing most of 2000 due to a fractured foot. The Tigers were expected to have too much tall firepower to be troubled by the Bulldogs in round 2 but all that went out the window with an off the ball incident in the beginning moments of the match.

Rex's call of the incident on 3aw - "Knights has been assassinated!"

A clip of the aftermath of the Libba/Knights incident:

Spud at quarter time shows Knighter to the umps:


Teams - Round 2, 2001



B:   Torney        Bourke      Biddiscombe
HB: A.Kellaway  Gaspar      Hilton
C:   J.Bowden   Campbell    Cameron
HF: Tivendale    Holland      Richardson
F:    Chaffey     Ottens        Rogers
R:    Hall, Daffy, Knights
INT: Gale, Fiora, Sziller, D.Kellaway

EMG: Broderick, Dragicevic, Vardy
IN: D.Kellaway
OUT: C.King (foot sprain)

Western Bulldogs

B:    Curley      Croft         Harrison
HB:  Smith        Ellis          Robbins
C:   Dimattina    West       Johnson
HF:   Cox         Grant        Eagleton
F:    Hudson     Hunter       Brown
R:    Darcy, Romero, Liberatore
INT: Bartlett, Murphy, Hahn, Penny
« Last Edit: March 07, 2006, 05:42:47 AM by one-eyed »

Offline one-eyed

  • Administrator
  • RFC Hall of Fame
  • *****
  • Posts: 79608
    • One-Eyed Richmond
Re: RFC Memorable Moments #5: "Every Dog Has Its Day"
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2006, 04:07:36 AM »
Blood at the G
By Rod Nicholson
Saturday, April 07, 2001

THE AFL will investigate an off-the-ball incident sparked by feisty Western Bulldog Tony Liberatore that left Richmond star Matthew Knights a blood-splattered mess yesterday at the MCG.

Liberatore was not reported and there is no video of the incident which ignited a melee, but the AFL will instigate an inquiry.

Liberatore was the focus of a fiery opening minute in which Knights and his new captain, Wayne Campbell, retaliated and are almost certain to be reported tomorrow on video evidence.

A blood-drenched Knights ran 20m swinging punches at Liberatore after the initial incident. Tiger teammate Wayne Campbell already had swooped on the nuggety Bulldog veteran and 1990 Brownlow medallist.

Richmond officials privately expect video reports of both Knights and Campbell, and the mood in the Tiger den last night suggests the players will accuse Liberatore of provoking their angry response.

Tiger coach Danny Frawley said he did not see the initial incident, but added: ''Richmond Football Club are a really proud club and it will be payback time at some stage.''

He said Knights told him he did not know what had happened (how he had sustained the split forehead).

''Every dog has its day, excuse the pun,'' Frawley said.

Frawley was clearly still upset at quarter time, making sure the umpires could see the damage done to Knights' forehead.

''I'm not sure what happened but one of our leaders has got multiple stitches. Maybe he fell on his shoelaces,'' he said sarcastically.

''It's not something we want to promote, that's for sure.''

When asked if he was concerned about possible repercussions for Knights from the incident, after he clearly appeared to strike Liberatore in retaliation, Frawley said of his former skipper: ''Well he's only human.''

Western Bulldog coach Terry Wallace said ''officials will deal with whatever needs to be adjudicated on''.

Wallace said he doubted Liberatore's teammates responded as they did only when they realised it was the popular small man in the thick of the action.

''When the heat of the battle is on everyone is emotional. That has been the same for 30 years,'' he said. ''The trick is to keep your eye on the ball.''

The AFL will be under pressure to launch an immediate and intense investigation.

Yesterday's ugly clash follows an off-the-ball incident in the opening round last weekend, when Collingwood's Paul Licuria went down behind play. Magpie players blamed Hawthorn's Aaron Lord and remonstrated.

However, the investigation fizzled when Licuria said he could not remember anything of the incident and there was no video to expose the culprit.

That clearly will not be the case with Liberatore, given Tiger skipper Campbell was instantly on the scene to support the man he replaced as captain at the start of the season.

Knights was forced from the field and required six stitches. He returned with his head swathed in a head bandage, but had to leave the field several times when the blood continued to flow.

Knights and Campbell did not shake hands with Liberatore at the end of the match. Camp bell also had to leave the field under the blood rule.

When Campbell returned to the action to man up with Liberatore, he concentrated on the opponent and gave away two free kicks.

Umpires Scott McLaren, Brett Rosebury and Shane McInerney did not make reports.

Channel Seven said they did not have video of the initial incident.

But they did have video of both Knights and Campbell launching into Liberatore.

AFL umpire chief Jeff Gieschen will inspect the tapes tomorrow morning to determine if any players have a case to answer.

Even if Liberatore's initial action is not on video, he can expect a visit from one of the AFL's three reporting officers -- Rick Lewis, John Coburn or Paul O'Halloran.

Liberatore is renowned in recent years for his nagging, scragging tactics. He has faced the AFL Tribunal on counts of scratching and gouging.

In the match yesterday he had eight kicks and three handballs in the Bulldogs' 42-point victory, but he was booed by Tiger fans every time he went near the ball after the opening minute incident.

At 35 he now is on the club's veterans' list, having played 252 games and having signed a new contract at the end of last season.


DESPITE being involved in numerous controversies, Bulldog veteran and

medallist Tony Liberatore has only three convictions at the AFL

They are:

1998 - suspended one match for striking.

1999 - suspended three matches for clawing .

2000 - fined $2000 for sledging.

Offline one-eyed

  • Administrator
  • RFC Hall of Fame
  • *****
  • Posts: 79608
    • One-Eyed Richmond
Re: RFC Memorable Moments #5: "Every Dog Has Its Day"
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2006, 04:09:32 AM »
Underdogs answer critics
The Age

RICHMOND 2.4  4.7    5.9      9.15 (69)
BULLDOGS 4.0  7.2   11.6   17. 9 (111)

Western Bulldogs: C Grant 4 R Smith 3 B Johnson 2 P Hudson 2 T Bartlett 2 S West L Darcy N Brown J Romero.
Richmond: M Richardson 2 R Hilton D Kellaway B Ottens M Dragicevic A Fiora R Hall B Gale.

Western Bulldogs: R Smith S West C Grant B Johnson B Harrison M Croft S Cox.
Richmond: R Hilton G Tivendale L Cameron D Kellaway M Richardson.

Richmond: D Bourke (knee) replaced in selected side by M Dragicevic, B Ottens (ankle), N Daffy (strained knee), B Holland (corked thigh).
Western Bulldogs: Nil

Reports: Nil.
Umpires: S McLaren, B Rosebury, S McInerney.
Official crowd: 36,427 at MCG.

TOO small. Not enough depth. Had their chances over the years. Definitely in decline. Still relying on Liberatore and Romero and smoke and mirrors.

We have said it about the Western Bulldogs too many times and, under Terry Wallace's crafty management, reports of their demise have often proven premature.

The Bulldogs are written off more often than the corporate lunch. After last weekend's loss to Saint Malcolm, we media types repeated our folly by all but declaring Richmond over the line. The Tigers had plastered Melbourne and, on a warm autumn afternoon at the MCG, Richo and co would be too tall for the Western Munchkins.

The Bulldogs have a nasty habit of making pundits look stupid and a satisfied Wallace was happy to remind ``outsiders'' - code for the media - that they had gotten it so horribly wrong. Again.

``I've probably got a little more faith in my players than others have in my players,'' he said pointedly.

``You know, it's been suggested that we've been heading down the list for a while and, you know, the players keep standing up and offering themselves and putting their bodies on the line.''

You can see how the punditry misread the match. We thought height would prevail, whereas skill and endeavor proved more crucial. Richmond's size advantage, personified by the Brad Ottens-Matthew Richardson tandem in attack, was fresh in our minds. Forgotten was the no-less significant edge in foot skills enjoyed by the underdoggies, who have a record of using the ball pretty well since their rebirth at the end of 1996.

This was the major difference between the sides yesterday in a match that was sorely lacking drama, besides the spiteful Matthew Knights-Tony Liberatore incident and its immediate aftermath.

Richmond had nearly as much football. But, as the Tigers went forward, they suffered a Groundhog Day-like relapse of their late 1990s brand of turnover football. The Dogs would mass in defence waiting for the ball to return to them and, as the match wore on, they were seldom disappointed.

From the moment Knights hit the deck and angry Tigers converged on predictable provocateur Libba, the game was played on the Bulldogs' terms. The Tigers kicked it high and wide but seldom handsome. The Dogs ran and pin-pointed leading forwards, particularly Chris Grant.

Wayne Campbell, clearly keen to fly the skipper's flag, did not help matters by giving away a couple of centre-square frees that led to those early Bulldog goals.

After 10 minutes, it was three goals to zip and you had the feeling that the bad Richmond had shown up.

While the scoreline didn't really look ugly until the third quarter and the Tiges were within range throughout the first half (they were on top for much of the first quarter), they were always in pursuit and never in true control.

The Richmond wreckers were a mix of usual suspects - Rohan Smith, Brad Johnson, Grant - and novelty acts such as Simon Cox and Ben Harrison.

The latter rubbed his old team's face in the MCG turf with a terrific game, particularly in the first half.

The difference in finish was evident, not only in delivery to forwards, but in scoring attempts. The Tigers missed too many, while the Dogs, led by the long-range missiles from Smith's boot, kicked some beauties.

When it was over, Wallace was asked about the game, giving his vertically challenged defence ``confidence''.

The coach, as ever, was quick with the jab. ``We've got a lot of confidence. We don't have to go looking for it. It's others that perhaps need confidence in us.''

Offline one-eyed

  • Administrator
  • RFC Hall of Fame
  • *****
  • Posts: 79608
    • One-Eyed Richmond
Re: RFC Memorable Moments #5: "Every Dog Has Its Day"
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2006, 04:16:49 AM »
Frawley vows revenge on Dogs after spiteful defeat
By Paul Gough
Saturday, April 07, 2001

RICHMOND coach Danny Frawley tonight vowed his club would take revenge on the Western Bulldogs for a controversial off the ball clash between Bulldog rover Tony Liberatore and former Tigers skipper Matthew Knights at the MCG today.

The incident, which happened in the opening minute of the game, overshadowed the Bulldogs' upset 17.9 (111) to 9.15 (69) victory over the disappointing Tigers.

Knights left the field with his face covered in blood after the incident but not before knocking Liberatore to the ground in retaliation and then appearing to punch his rival as players from both sides ran in from everywhere.

As the game threatened to get out of control, the Bulldogs settled by far the quicker and booted the first three goals of the game as the Tigers appeared more focused on 'evening up.'

After the game Frawley said he did not see the incident, which caused Knights to go the ground initially, but said his club would not forget it when the teams met again in Round 17.

'The Richmond Football Club is a really proud club and it will be payback time at some stage,' Frawley said.

'Every dog has its day, excuse the pun.'

Frawley was clearly still upset at quarter time, making sure the umpires (who made no reports) could see the damage done to Knights' forehead in the incident.

'I'm not sure what happened but one of our leaders has got multiple stitches , maybe he fell on his shoelaces,' he said.

'It's not something we want to promote, that's for sure.'

When asked if he was concerned about possible repercussions for Knights from the incident, after he clearly appeared to strike Liberatore in retaliation, Frawley said of his former skipper - 'Well he's only human.'

Bulldogs' coach Terry Wallace said he did not see the incident but added his club had steeled itself for a ferocious performance today after the criticism it received following last week's opening round loss to St Kilda.

'We needed to make a stand and play a tough, hard game of football,' he said.

The Bulldogs certainly did that as their midfield dominated through Scott West (23 possessions) and Brad Johnson (24 and two goals) while their work in pushing back in numbers to crowd Richmond's forward line worked perfectly.

Richmond's much-vaunted attack, which kicked 20 goals last week, was so bad that Matthew Richardson with two goals was their only multiple goalkicker as the Tigers repeatedly turned the ball over while trying to find a teammate in their crowded forward line.

The Bulldogs in contrast moved the ball far better and had winners in attack in Chris Grant (four goals) and Rohan Smith, who capped off a best on ground display with three goals.

Richmond's miserable day was completed when key trio Nick Daffy (strained knee), Ben Holland (corked thigh) and Brad Ottens (ankle) all left the field injured but the club is hoping all will be fit for next week's MCG clash against Brisbane.

Later the Sunday Herald Sun reported that the AFL would investigate the off-the-ball melee during the Richmond-Western Bulldogs match.

In a front page story featuring pictures of a blood-splattered Matthew Knights, it said AFL umpire chief Jeff Gieschen would inspect tapes tomorrow morning to determine whether any players had a case to answer.

The report said the umpires did not make a report and Channel Seven said it did not have videotape of the initial incident which sparked the confrontation.

But it did have videotape of 'Knights and (Richmond captain Wayne) Campbell launching into Liberatore', the Sunday Herald Sun said.

It said Richmond officials privately expected video reports of the pair, but they were likely to accuse Liberatore of provoking them.

Offline one-eyed

  • Administrator
  • RFC Hall of Fame
  • *****
  • Posts: 79608
    • One-Eyed Richmond
Re: RFC Memorable Moments #5: "Every Dog Has Its Day"
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2006, 04:19:03 AM »
Dogs stay cool, Tigers lose the plot
Monday, April 9, 2001.


The Tigers have seldom, if ever, been so poor since Danny Frawley became coach. Their disposal was awful. The marking forwards that had terrorised Melbourne had little chance, with the ball being kicked high and wide of the mark.

It was clear that several players, including skipper Wayne Campbell, were unable to control their emotions in the critical moments that followed the decking of Matthew Knights early in the first quarter. The Tiges were so honest last year that Saturday's meltdown should, at this early stage, be viewed as an aberration.


Greg Tivendale cemented a spot in the Tiger 22 last year; this year, he should become one of the club's top-dozen players. On Saturday, when only a handful of Tigers were up to scratch, the young left-footer stood up, especially in the first half.


The Tigers have a testing assignment against Brisbane; fortunately, the venue is the MCG rather than the Gabba. Nick Daffy (knee) must be doubtful, but the club believes that Brad Ottens (ankle) and Ben Holland (corked thigh) will be right for the Lions game.

Offline one-eyed

  • Administrator
  • RFC Hall of Fame
  • *****
  • Posts: 79608
    • One-Eyed Richmond
Re: RFC Memorable Moments #5: "Every Dog Has Its Day"
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2006, 04:20:32 AM »
Bulldog needs to take stock
The Age
Monday, April 9 ,2001

If Tony Liberatore was responsible for the felling of Matthew Knights 100 metres off the ball at the MCG on Saturday, then he should give the game away. And, if he was responsible and feels the need to soldier on, then his club should do him a favor and insist that he retire.

If Liberatore caused the split in Knight's forehead, then it has to be the last straw in a list of unsavory incidents that have sullied the Brownlow medallist's past few seasons.

There has been much to admire about Liberatore's career. He has had to fight the odds to survive, but in recent years it has been sad to see him desperately clinging to a career that he knows is slipping away fast.

His coach, Terry Wallace, has kept him on the knife-edge. Perhaps Wallace thinks this is the best way to get some value from Liberatore. But what price do you put on sledging and scraping?

If Liberatore split the unsuspecting Knight's head open, then he has become a pathetic figure on our football fields. Knights being split open in the thick of the action is far more acceptable. Being in the contest you expect the whacks to come. But, if he was felled 100 metres away from the contest, then Knights, his wife, his young son and the game itself deserve much better.

Even Liberatore's Bulldog teammates must be sick and tired of continually defending him when retaliation occurs. Of course, publicly they would never say so, but in recent years I'm sure Chris Grant, Brad Johnson, Scott West and Rohan Smith would much prefer to be playing the fine football they are capable of rather than be forced to fly the flag for a teammate who too often stirs the pot.

If Liberatore did a job on Knights, you can only hope that his conscience forces him to have a real strong think about where he stands in the football world.

Life goes on, way beyond his present 35 years. He needs to reflect on the good times, the respect, the camaraderie that football has given him.

But, if he continues on the way he has in recent years, resorting to dirty deeds to hang on to a place in the team, then it will be blood-stained money that he takes. And that, for Tony Liberatore, would be a sad, undignified way to end a career.

Offline one-eyed

  • Administrator
  • RFC Hall of Fame
  • *****
  • Posts: 79608
    • One-Eyed Richmond
Re: RFC Memorable Moments #5: "Every Dog Has Its Day"
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2006, 04:22:21 AM »
Liberatore under scrutiny
The Australian
Monday, April 9, 2001.

Controversial Western Bulldogs' tagger Tony Liberatore will today become the centre of an AFL investigation into an incident in which Richmond's Matthew Knights was felled behind play at the MCG on Saturday.

It is believed that the field umpires will this morning lodge a notice of investigation with the league as to why Knights was forced off the ground under the blood rule soon after the start.

The former Richmond captain left the field with blood streaming down his face. He missed the rest of the quarter and had seven stitches inserted in a wound above his right eye.

It is also believed no video of the incident is available from Channel Seven, so the AFL will engage its investigations officer Rick Lewis to head the probe.

The incident sparked remonstrations from both Knights and Tigers' captain Wayne Campbell, who are likely to be cited on striking and wrestling charges later today.

Knights directed his feelings towards the Bulldogs' interchange bench as he left the field for treatment and had to be physically restrained by Richmond doctor Chris Bradshaw.

Knights started the game outside the centre square, opposed to Matthew Robbins and after a tangle with Robbins, he ran towards Liberatore who was about to pick him up.

It is also believed Richmond will give evidence that Knights was contacted to the face by a sharp jab.

Western Bulldogs football manager Paul Armstrong said yesterday he was disappointed that no video from behind the goals had been provided.

``That may have told us the whole story,'' Armstrong said. ``Obviously there will be an investigation and we'll cooperate fully with the investigator.''

If charged, Liberatore, the 1990 Brownlow medallist, would be fronting the AFL Tribunal for the sixth time in the past four years.

In 1998, he escaped a charge of scratching the face of Brisbane's Steven Lawrence, but was suspended for one match for striking in the preliminary final.

The following year, he was cleared of a kicking charge, against Brisbane's Michael Voss, but was suspended for three matches from that same round-10 game after being found guilty of clawing the face of Lions' forward Craig McRae. Last year, he was found guilty of using abusive language against West Coast's Fraser Gehrig and fined $2000.

While the Tigers will sweat on video charges against Knights and Campbell, they also have injury worries, headed by Nick Daffy's left knee, which he hurt in the opening quarter against the Bulldogs.

In a blow for Richmond, Daffy will miss at least the next four weeks as he is scheduled for arthroscopic surgery tomorrow to repair damaged medial cartilage.

As well, late withdrawal David Bourke will miss another two or three matches after surgery to repair damaged cartilage in his knee.

Key players Brad Ottens and Ben Holland will require fitness tests this week before being considered against Brisbane at the MCG on Saturday. Ottens turned his ankle, while Holland corked a thigh in the first half.

Offline one-eyed

  • Administrator
  • RFC Hall of Fame
  • *****
  • Posts: 79608
    • One-Eyed Richmond
Re: RFC Memorable Moments #5: "Every Dog Has Its Day"
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2006, 04:24:11 AM »
Libba may not be safe
By Geoff Poulter
Sunday, April 08, 2001

FOOTBALL'S unwritten code of honour is unlikely to save Tony Liberatore from yet another controversial visit to the AFL tribunal for his part in the Matthew Knights incident.

Richmond may be forced to find a cure for ''Monday Amnesia'' in order to defend retaliators Knights and skipper Wayne Campbell against possible video charges from Saturday's MCG clash.

If the AFL doesn't beat them to it, the Tigers are likely to lodge a complaint about the behind-the-play clash that resulted in a bloodied Knights looking as though he was on the wrong end of a bar-room brawl and a sizeable melee.

While he has only three tribunal convictions, Liberatore, 35, has been one of the league's most controversial players.

The battling Bulldog has been a key figure in several unsavoury incidents, including stoushes with Lions Craig McRae and Steve Lawrence and Sydney's Paul Kelly.

Significantly, there appears to be no video evidence of the Knights-Liberatore clash, which means Richmond will need to adopt a tell-all policy for league investigators.

Yesterday the Tigers were still fuming about opening quarter fracas that forced Knights to the bench for six stitches to this forehead.

They will meet at 8am this morning to decide their course of action.

''It is something that we haven't yet formed our full position on, we will weigh it up,'' football operations manager Trevor Poole said.

''We are considering it very delicately in the sense that it is not something you can say let's just pass it over.

''We have to get to the players involved . . . and Knighter is one of those obviously . . . these people will have to be brought together.

''(They) have to be rallied together so we are all clear on whether we want to do anything about it.

''We'll meet and consider it deeply and appropriately.

''I don't think it (the Tigers' dilemma) is in any way related to the Collingwood (last week) incident.''

Tiger coach Danny Frawley said: ''Every dog has his day'' on Saturday night. Libba's day may come this week if the claims of an eyewitness prove correct.

A radio talkback caller, who claimed to be an AFL club forward scout, said he saw the Liberatore-Knights incident.

''I saw everything ... my job there was to watch the Bulldogs,'' the scout, who identified himself as Damien, told Triple M yesterday.

''I looked towards the centre and saw Knights running towards the wing and he was looking at the ball ... what was happening in the play.

''Liberatore turned around and saw him and ... started charging towards him and bang, that left arm of his came up and bang.''

The furore that erupted over the Knights-Liberatore clash could have a costly postscript.

It's likely the AFL will cite players from both teams for being involved in a melee. One of the field umpires is expected lodge a notice of investigation as to why Knights had to leave the field.

Whether to lay video charges will be decided when league scrutineers view all available TV footage of the game.

Seven Network's corporate development director Simon Francis said yesterday there were end cameras focused down the ground at all eight AFL matches.

But he said it was unsure whether the behind-the-play incident involving Knights was on film as the cameramen were instructed to follow the ball.

If there's no videotape of the incident, the AFL will call in its investigations officer Rick Lewis to interview players, officials and any independent witnesses.

Richmond ruckman Brendon Gale can expect a call from Lewis after suggestion on TV yesterday that some players had witnessed what happened but would be reluctant to talk about it.

Offline one-eyed

  • Administrator
  • RFC Hall of Fame
  • *****
  • Posts: 79608
    • One-Eyed Richmond
Re: RFC Memorable Moments #5: "Every Dog Has Its Day"
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2006, 04:26:36 AM »
By Monday every footy journo was having his/her say in one of the hotest footy stories ever.

No more cones of silence
By Mike Sheahan
Sunday, April 08, 2001

TONY Liberatore is in trouble. Again. Right up to his ginger beers.

This time, it matters for nought that he is just 163cm. Even at Luke Darcy's 196cm, he still would be in it up to his ears.

What we have is an incident, a bloodied victim, and clear evidence that both the victim and a body of on-lookers is certain it knows the identity of the assailant.

A few of them hinted they would take the law into their own hands at the MCG on Saturday afternoon, but didn't, and now it's where it belongs: with the authorities.

The uproar and outrage over the weekend demands both an official AFL investigation of exactly what happened to Matthew Knights, and referral to the AFL Tribunal.

If the AFL investigator in this case runs head-first into the cone of silence, as usual, and can't assemble sufficient evidence to lay a charge, he should feel compelled to refer the matter to the tribunal and ask it to unravel the mystery.

Dare the parties to play blind, deaf and dumb in front of Brian Collis and company. We must have a conclusion to this affair.

The front pages of the sports sections of Victoria's two Sunday papers carried photographs of Knights looking like he had been set upon in a pub brawl, and pummelled into submission.

It is publicity of the worst kind. As much as certain sections of the football fraternity lament the lack of biffo in the modern game, biffo belongs to a previous era and those still mired in the past.

The greater good of the game is not served by incidents in which players are hurt off the ball.

The normally unflappable Knights went troppo on Saturday, clearly of the belief he had been unfairly treated.

He was hurt during the opening five minutes, and still was angry and flustered when the final siren sounded.

All we know officially is that Knights suffered a blow to the forehead, delivered by an unknown person, with the strong implication it was Liberatore.

It is now beholden of Knights, Wayne Campbell, who obviously lost his cool as a result of the incident, and anyone else who believes they know what happened to tell their story.

Monday memory lapses won't do any longer. Players who choose to forget what they thought they saw when confronted by an investigator should have to say so publicly, and bear the consequences.

The appropriate course of action, the mature course of action, is to assist the authorities with their inquiries. Warnings of paybacks are rubbish and ill-considered.

This is not the schoolyard. It is the AFL. Richmond coach Danny Frawley will be embarrassed today by his post-match promise of ''payback time at some stage'', presumably the return match in Round 17.

That's not the right way to sort things out, and, just as a matter of interest, who does he have at Richmond to do any squaring up?

A few old-timers from the Richmond teams of the early 1980s, maybe? Captain Blood, perhaps?

Frawley was entitled to be angry, but justice is the responsibility of those in charge of the game.

As for Liberatore, we are tempted, but our culture says we should wait until we are privy to all the facts.

Suffice to say, it doesn't look good for the player who was quoted in the Herald-Sun last year as saying ''footy is like going to war,'' but he is entitled to natural justice.

Offline one-eyed

  • Administrator
  • RFC Hall of Fame
  • *****
  • Posts: 79608
    • One-Eyed Richmond
Re: RFC Memorable Moments #5: "Every Dog Has Its Day"
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2006, 04:32:17 AM »
Opening up the wounds
By Patrick Smith
The Australian
Tuesday, April 10, 2001

RICHMOND Football Club, Monday morning, 11 o'clock:

Mark Brayshaw is chief executive of Richmond Football Club. Has been for a couple of years. He is trying desperately to change the culture of the club. Few people have done that anywhere in any sport. It has fallen to Brayshaw to also change the culture of AFL football. By 11am yesterday he was not returning calls.

Earlier Brayshaw had been more forthcoming, articulating his problem on radio. Richmond, who last year under Brayshaw and coach Danny Frawley suspended two players for alcohol-related breaches, are
trying to remake their image and their environment. Brayshaw said the club was attempting to be honest with themselves and their public.

The suspensions of Brad Ottens and Nick Daffy last season were tendered as evidence of that. Now, Brayshaw found himself in a position to make football itself accountable.

Richmond have two -- Matthew Knights and Wayne Campbell -- of the three players central to the bloody mess that was the first five minutes of the Tigers-Bulldogs match last Saturday. The third player,
of course, is Tony Liberatore. The Bulldog clashed with Knights, who ended up dripping blood and needing six stitches to his forehead.

Campbell was enraged by what he saw and remonstrated, well sort of, with Liberatore. But Richmond could only make football accountable if Knights and Campbell recalled with clarity and honesty what happened
in that mad moment on the MCG. That would go against a century of footy culture. Not long after that radio interview Brayshaw effectively took his phone off the hook.

However, Richmond's position in this investigation had been firmly and morally established already. Frawley did that at quarter-time when he dragged Knights to the edge of the centre square and demanded
the umpires look at the bandage wrapped around Knights' forehead. At that moment Frawley was demanding the umpires act. They have, lodging a notice of investigation both of the Knights-Liberatore incident and
a second to establish just what the hell Frawley thought he was doing.

But Frawley and Brayshaw's problem is obvious enough. Frawley's actions meant he wanted an investigation and having got one, it is now incumbent on Richmond to co-operate expansively with the investigations officer Rick Lewis. And that is what they decided to do. Knights took it on the forehead, he won't take it on the chin.

Frawley has other concerns. The response from his team on Saturday was limp. The Western Bulldogs expected that. Having identified their own lack of aggression the week before, the Bulldogs determined to
address that on Saturday. And they no doubt knew there was no better team to do that against than the Tigers. Richmond have been tagged as soft. Saturday only underscored that. Frawley and his men can now
expect the fiercest scrutiny from every other team. They are this year's marshmallows.

AFL Headquarters, Docklands, before you've had your second coffee:

Things are a tad tense. The AFL has problems, too. Big ones. This is the second incident in two weeks. Last time the key players had trouble remembering their first names never mind what happened. Paul
Licuria and Aaron Lord clashed. Licuria felt something and fell to the ground; Lord felt contact but couldn't make head nor tail, elbow or shoulder of what caused it. Investigation dropped through lack of
active brain cells.

So if nothing comes of this Libba incident, if another player is seen to be struck behind play and the AFL processes incapable of administering justice, then the AFL is impotent. A bucket full of Viagra wouldn't help save its integrity. The officials know that; know this is a crucial week for the AFL.

Andrew Demetriou makes a decision. If there is an investigation and the players' memories prove as reliable as the 9am out of Sydney then Demetriou will report Liberatore. The players can do their explaining to tribunal chief Brian Collis, who has the power to suspend players with broken brains.

Whitten Oval, Footscray, mid-morning, black coffee all-round:

Bulldog heavies meet. President David Smorgon, coach Terry Wallace, football manager Paul Armstrong, chief executive Mark Patterson, football director Jim Edmond and, of course, Libba. What to do? The club has taken a trashing over the past 36 hours. People are reading everything into anything. There's the report that Wallace patted Libba on the head after the game. To some that was evidence that Libba had acted under instruction. So Libba decides to put his hand up for the second time in three days. Bulldog heavies duck. Libba
appreciates the club is concerned that its recent past scratching, clawing etc has been less than savoury.

Whitten Oval, 2pm, estimate nearly 70 journalists lob for media conference. Or there's a free lunch.

It's a media conference. Crowd immediately halved. Terry Wallace on the left, Smorgon in the middle and Libba on the right. Wallace says he has been concerned with the speculation over the role of Libba in Saturday's incident. Then it is over to Libba. The Bulldog says he is distraught with the innuendo and speculation. It is time to state his case. Libba's no fibber. Yes, he did make contact with Knights but here is how and why. The Richmond player was running towards him.

Libba lifted his arm in self-defence and contact was made but it was not deliberate. Instinctive, yes. Spontaneous, yes. Pre-meditated, absolutely not. Libba apologises to Knights. Sorry about the gash, fella.

AFL Headquarters, God not another coffee, late afternoon:

Rick Lewis, AFL's chief interrogator gets the call. Big boy, you're on. Libba spilt blood now he has spilt his guts. Go see if Knights is of the same mind. Talk to Campbell, too. Maybe he has stopped running around in circles by now. Talk to Frawley. Talk to the umpires. Just don't do talkback.

Bottom line, skinny latte with two sugars, to hell with the diet:

Football has pulled itself back from the brink. Had this matter come to nothing football would have taken a body blow far more debilitating than the one suffered by Knights. It is a milestone of sorts. Football's irresponsible code of silence has been cut if not broken. It will be hard to stop the bleeding from here.

Offline one-eyed

  • Administrator
  • RFC Hall of Fame
  • *****
  • Posts: 79608
    • One-Eyed Richmond
Re: RFC Memorable Moments #5: "Every Dog Has Its Day"
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2006, 04:35:00 AM »
With no footage of the actual incident (thanks to Ch 7's lack of cameras), the AFL launched an inquiry into the incident:

Tigers pair co-operate with inquiry
By Michael Gleeson
Tuesday, April 10, 2001

RICHMOND skipper Wayne Campbell is understood to have told AFL investigators he saw the bloody clash between Matthew Knights and Tony Liberatore.

The Tigers' players and coaches vowed yesterday to ''co-operate fully'' with the AFL investigation and say exactly what they saw.

This is understood to mean they would ignore the unwritten players' code of conduct not to incriminate an opponent.

Campbell was the first player on the scene and remonstrated violently with Liberatore after the first-quarter clash.

Last night he and Knights met AFL investigations officer Rick Lewis to be quizzed over the incident. The investigation is expected to be completed by noon today.

In a day of drama, accused Bulldog little man Liberatore took the bold move of publicly admitting he struck Knights with his arm, but said it was in self-defence after Knights ran at him.

Knights suffered a gash to the head requiring six stitches from the off-the-ball incident in the opening minutes of the game.

Reading from a prepared statement, Liberatore apologised to Knights.

''I want to put my side of the incident as there has been much innuendo and allegations concerning this matter that does not reflect the incident,'' Liberatore told a packed media conference at the Whitten Oval.

''I reacted in self-defence to Matthew Knights running at me. I lifted my arm and this made contact with Matthew.

''The act was not premeditated and it was a spontaneous reaction and I acted instinctively.

''I certainly regret the outcome of the incident, however contact was certainly not deliberate.

''I apologise to Matthew for the outcome.''

Channel 7 yesterday confirmed it did not have footage of the clash, despite the end-to-end cameras behind the goals at the ground.

A spokesman said the cameras followed the action and didn't catch the incident.

Richmond officials were surprised by the Bulldogs' decision to make public comments about the clash during an AFL investigation.

''It comes as a bit of a surprise, yes, I would have to admit that,'' Tigers football manager Trevor Poole said.

''Whether it helps or hinders the process of the investigation only time will tell.''

The incident in Saturday's game sparked a scuffle that is also under AFL investigation.

Comments by Tigers coach Danny Frawley after the game, saying there would be payback, are also being investigated.

AFL chief executive Wayne Jackson said Lewis was probing all issues from the match.

''Our football operations people have asked Rick to conduct a wide-ranging inquiry and we are aware of comments that were made after the game,'' Jackson said.

He said he didn't believe a code of silence still existed.

''That may well have been there 20 or 30 years ago, but young men today have a sense of what is right or wrong on the field more so than maybe we did 30 years ago,'' Jackson said.

Offline one-eyed

  • Administrator
  • RFC Hall of Fame
  • *****
  • Posts: 79608
    • One-Eyed Richmond
Re: RFC Memorable Moments #5: "Every Dog Has Its Day"
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2006, 04:36:35 AM »
Dogs fuming over non reports
By Paul Gough
Tuesday, April 10, 2001

MELBOURNE, April 10 AAP - The Western Bulldogs were resigned to losing Tony Liberatore to suspension after he was charged with striking today, but are privately fuming Richmond pair Matthew Knights and Wayne Campbell will not be facing similar charges.

While Campbell and Knights will have to appear at tomorrow night`s hearing, they have only been charged with being engaged in a melee while Liberatore was booked for striking Knights by AFL investigations officer Rick Lewis.

Eleven other players were also charged with being involved in a melee, a charge which normally only carries a fine rather than a suspension, as the investigation into Saturday`s fiery MCG match was completed.

The melee occurred following the controversial off-the-ball clash between Knights and Liberatore during the first minute of the Bulldogs` win over Richmond.

The other players charged are Richmond`s Steven Sziller, Matthew Rogers, Matthew Richardson, Brad Ottens and Ben Holland, and Bulldogs Nathan Brown, Craig Ellis, Rohan Smith, Matthew Robbins, Luke Darcy and Kingsley Hunter.

And Richmond coach Danny Frawley has been sent a `please explain` letter by the AFL for his post-game comments about the incident.

Most of the Bulldogs and Richmond players are expected to plead guilty to the melee involvement.

Liberatore will plead guilty to striking Knights after admitting he struck the former Richmond skipper yesterday and as a result can expect a suspension.

While there is no television footage of Liberatore`s clash with Knights, which left the latter`s face covered in blood, there was footage of the immediate aftermath which appeared to show both Knights and Campbell strike Liberatore.

But the Bulldogs were shocked to learn today that neither had been reported for striking or even the lesser charge of attempting to strike.

`I don`t know what Knights and Campbell were doing afterwards then,` was the comment of one Bulldogs` official.

Richmond officials confirmed today that Campbell and Knights would co-operate `fully` at tomorrow`s hearing, meaning they will tell the tribunal they saw Liberatore strike Knights.

However Liberatore said yesterday he had struck Knights in self-defence after the Richmond veteran ran at him just after the start of Saturday`s game.

`I reacted in self-defence to Matthew Knights running at me,` he said.

`I lifted my arm and made contact with Matthew.

`The act was not premeditated and it was a spontaneous reaction.

`I certainly regret the outcome of the incident, however contact was certainly not deliberate.` The clash left Knights prostrate on the turf with Richmond skipper Campbell immediately running in to remonstrate violently with Liberatore.

Knights, a player renowned for his self-control, then got to his feet and appeared to aim several punches at Liberatore.

It is not the first time Liberatore, the 1990 Brownlow medallist, has found himself the subject of controversy for his on-field behaviour.

The AFL`s smallest player was previously suspended for clawing at the face of Brisbane`s Craig McRae in 1999 while his close-checking tactics first came under the microscope in 1997 when Sydney skipper Paul Kelly was covered in scratches after being tagged all day by Liberatore.

It will be the seventh time the 35-year-old veteran of 252 games has faced the tribunal, but six of them have been in the last three years.

While he was found not guilty of kneeing in 1993, face scratching in 1998 and kicking in 1999, he has previously been found guilty of striking and abusive language as well as the charge of clawing McRae.

Meanwhile Frawley could be censured by the league for his comments on the Liberatore-Knights` clash after Saturday`s game.

`The Richmond Football Club is a really proud club and it will be payback time at some stage,` was the comment from Frawley that upset league heavyweights.

Offline one-eyed

  • Administrator
  • RFC Hall of Fame
  • *****
  • Posts: 79608
    • One-Eyed Richmond
Re: RFC Memorable Moments #5: "Every Dog Has Its Day"
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2006, 04:39:19 AM »
Spud tries to do his best to avoid a fine over his "payback time" comments :lol

Frawley says he's sorry
The Age
Wednesday, April 11, 2001.

Richmond coach Danny Frawley yesterday apologised for his emotional outburst after last Saturday's incident involving Tony Liberatore and Matthew Knights at the MCG.

Frawley, who angrily led Knights past the umpires at the quarter-time break pointing to his midfielder's bleeding forehead, and later vowed his club would be preparing for ''payback time'', told The Age yesterday he regretted his public reaction.

''I shouldn't have done what I did and I regret it now,'' said Frawley, of the incident that will tonight see Liberatore face a striking charge and 13 other players appear before the AFL Tribunal for engaging in the melee that followed the incident.

''I'd never felt that way as a coach and hopefully I've learned from the experience,'' Frawley said. ''I was the spokesperson for the Richmond Football Club and the members, but in hindsight I wasn't acting in the best interests of the game.''

Frawley last night received a please explain from the AFL on two counts and could face the tribunal for his actions. His apology earlier yesterday followed Liberatore's public apology to Knights on Monday in which the 35-year-old Bulldog said he had acted in self-defence.

The AFL believes Frawley's quarter-time actions could fall under the ''threatening conduct'' rule, which could result in a tribunal appearance or a fine of up to $10,000.

His after-match comments, which included the line, ''Every dog has his day, pardon the pun'', fall under ''conduct unbecoming or prejudicial to the interests of the AFL''. If taken further, Frawley could face another tribunal fine.

''I'm emotional, I don't deny that,'' said Frawley. ''It's an emotional game. I thought I was acting in the best interests of one of my players in Matty Knights, but unfortunately what's been lost in all of this is that the Bulldogs had a terrific win. Terry Wallace did a good job.

''And we were badly beaten. Hopefully we will handle those situations a lot better next time. We've got to come up against Brisbane this week and we've got a chance to redeem ourselves.''

As the ill-feeling between Richmond and the Bulldogs continued yesterday, Frawley attempted to defuse the situation by saying his only interest in ''payback'' against the Bulldogs involved a victory on the scoreboard.

''After the game I was trying to get across that what we had to do as a football club was to come out next time and beat the Bulldogs,'' said Frawley. ''I would never for one minute tell our players to do anything other than to go hard at the ball.''

Yesterday, Geelong coach Mark Thompson also weighed into the debate, criticising the publicity surrounding the Liberatore-Knights incident. ''It seems to be like he's (Liberatore) already been hung and it's a bit of a shame really because you don't need to look too far back before those incidents were happening on a pretty regular occasion,'' Thompson said last night at Shell Stadium.

Offline one-eyed

  • Administrator
  • RFC Hall of Fame
  • *****
  • Posts: 79608
    • One-Eyed Richmond
Re: RFC Memorable Moments #5: "Every Dog Has Its Day"
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2006, 04:41:52 AM »
On Wednesday Night, April 11, 2001, the AFL Tribunal handed down a 5 week suspension to Liberatore as well as melee fines to 12 players from both clubs

The Tribunal verdicts
The Age
Thursday, April 12, 2001.

Tony Liberatore (W Bulldogs) for striking Matthew Knights (Rich) 5 matches


Wayne Campbell (Rich) Fined $3000
Steven Sziller (Rich) Fined $3000
Matthew Knights (Rich) Fined $2000
Matthew Rogers (Rich) Fined $2000
Matthew Richardson (Rich) Fined $2000
Brad Ottens (Rich) Fined $2000
Ben Holland (Rich) Fined $2000
Nathan Brown (W Bulldogs) Fined $3500
Craig Ellis (W Bulldogs) Fined $3000
Luke Darcy (W Bulldogs) Fined $2500
Kingsley Hunter (W Bulldogs) Fined $2500
Matthew Robbins (W Bulldogs) Fined $2000
Rohan Smith (W Bulldogs) Cleared

Offline one-eyed

  • Administrator
  • RFC Hall of Fame
  • *****
  • Posts: 79608
    • One-Eyed Richmond
Re: RFC Memorable Moments #5: "Every Dog Has Its Day"
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2006, 04:45:25 AM »
Libba outted for 5 weeks
Liberatore defiant
Thursday, April 12, 2001.

Western Bulldogs tagger Tony Liberatore, suspended for five matches at the AFL Tribunal last night for what was described as ``an
unnecessary act'', maintains he did not strike Richmond's Matthew Knights deliberately.

Liberatore said during the 80-minute hearing, in which descriptions of events conflicted greatly, that he acted in self defence in the opening minutes of Saturday's match at the MCG conflicted greatly.

``Obviously, I'm very disappointed, but I accept the decision,'' Liberatore said. ``No one likes to see a player come off the ground in the way that Matthew Knights did.''

Liberatore and his advocate, Bert Gaudion, maintained Knights had contributed to the contact and its severity by running at Liberatore.

Their evidence was backed by Bulldogs' assistant coach Phil Maylin, who said Liberatore had accidentally struck Knights in a reflex action after the former Richmond skipper ran towards him. Bulldog Matthew Robbins also said Knights was running straight at Liberatore and must have heard him yell to his teammate to pick the Richmond playmaker up.

Knights testified that he had no recollection of contact, though he knew Liberatore was in his path and assumed he had made contact with him. He said he was not running at Liberatore, but that he was running Robbins, his starting opponent, around. Knights said Liberatore was forward of him.

Richmond captain Wayne Campbell, who broke the traditional players' code by giving evidence on what he saw, told the hearing he was 20 metres away and had seen the clash. ``I observed Liberatore to swing his right arm and contact Matthew to the head,'' Campbell said.

``Matthew went to the ground. I ran in to remonstrate with Liberatore and I wrestled with him so as to let him know he couldn't do this to one of our players.''

Campbell's version of events upset Liberatore. Asked if he was disappointed by Campbell's evidence, Liberatore replied: ``Obviously I am, because it wasn't the way it happened.''

Campbell's evidence was supported by Richmond assistant coach Alan Richardson, who was specifically tracking Knights' movements from the coach's box. He testified that Liberatore had struck Knights with a right arm to the head.

Liberatore said he was disappointed for both himself and the club for which has played 252 games over 16 seasons, but was more upset about his treatment by the media.

``I'm more disappointed in the way certain people in the media have reacted to the situation. The slur they've put on myself and my family is probably the most disturbing thing.''

Gaudion also said the case had been sensationalised.

``The press led us to believe he was on remand awaiting bail, while they built a public platform to have him executed,'' Gaudion said.

Gaudion also asked the tribunal to consider ``the sensationalism of Knights' bloodied appearance''. He earlier suggested to Knights that he had remained on the ground ``trying to get even'' instead of immediately going off to seek treatment.

Knights was fined $2000 after being found guilty of engaging in a melee arising out of the incident. Six other Richmond players, including Campbell, and five Bulldogs were also fined. Nathan Brown, at $3500, paid the largest share of the $29,500 total. Rohan Smith was the only player charged to be exonerated, though Knights and Kingsley Hunter also pleaded not guilty.

It was Liberatore's third suspension and fourth time he had been found guilty at the tribunal. He had previously been suspended for a week for striking, for three weeks for clawing an opponent's face and fined $2000 for abusing a player.

Tribunal chairman Brian Collis said this was Liberatore's third violent offence since 1998. ``We note that contact was unnecessary and took place some considerable distance from the play.''