Richmond ruckman Ty Vickery is facing a lengthy suspension after whacking Dean Cox on the chin in his side’s 17-point AFL win over West Coast at Patersons Stadium on Friday night.
Cox was momentarily knocked out after being on the receiving end of Vickery’s roundhouse blow as the pair competed for a boundary throw-in shortly before half-time.
The retiring Eagle suffered further damage when his head crashed heavily into the turf.
Vickery, who had his eyes on the ball, is likely to argue he only swung his right arm around in a bid to jostle for a better position as the ball was airborne.
But the forceful nature of the hit and the timing suggested he had intent to hurt Cox.
Just moments earlier, Cox elbowed Vickery in the chest.
Vickery got up from that and bodied up to Cox to prepare for the throw-in, before unleashing the roundhouse blow.
Cox lay motionless for more than a minute before being helped to the bench by two trainers.
The 32-year-old, who announced during the week that he would retire at season’s end, played no further part in the match after being subbed off with concussion.
“He’s not good. It wasn’t good. He’s gone,” a fuming Eagles coach Adam Simpson said of Cox at half-time.
Vickery, who was reported for the incident, has 43.75 carryover points after copping a two-week suspension for striking North Melbourne’s Michael Firrito earlier this year.
Tempers threatened to boil over after Cox was knocked out and West Coast sharpshooter Mark LeCras could come under scrutiny for collecting Vickery high a few minutes later.
Richmond players weren’t happy with LeCras’ square-up, the Eagle having his guernsey completely ripped off during the ensuing wrestle.
The Vickery incident overshadowed Richmond’s fourth straight win, the Tigers coping well in the driving rain to post the 8.11 (59) to 6.6 (42) triumph.
Highlights were few and far between in the slippery conditions, but Trent Cotchin’s soccer goal from the tightest of angles early in the third quarter was a rare moment of brilliance.
Cox’s early exit meant West Coast midfielder Luke Shuey was forced to play out the match despite injuring his ankle in the third quarter.
The result all but ended West Coast’s finals hopes, with both the Eagles and the Tigers having a 7-10 record.
The 32,270 crowd roundly booed Vickery after Cox was knocked out.
And even former Tigers legend and current boundary rider Matthew Richardson wasn’t safe from the abuse.
“I’m copping as much as the players,” Richardson said during the broadcast.
“I don’t think they realised I retired five years ago.”