Sinister side to ‘ridiculous’ 65m goal
One of the AFL's "most joyful moments of the season" to date was also reportedly central to the AFL's investigation into Jaidyn Stephenson's betting.
The 2018 Rising Star winner on Wednesday was handed a 22-week ban - of which 12 games were suspended - and a $20,000 fine in the toughest sanction ever handed to an AFL player for breaching wagering rules.
Stephenson placed three, ultimately unsuccessful, multi-bets on three separate games involving his team - Round 4 against the Western Bulldogs, Round 6 against Essendon and Round 9 against St Kilda - with the wager totalling $36.
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And it was in the latter match where Stephenson provided one of the AFL year's most memorable goals so far.
Stephenson was widely lauded for his audacious 65m torpedo punt during the dying stages of his side's Round 9 win over the Saints. With the Magpies up by a comfortable 40 points with less than three minutes left in the game, the Rising Star winner launched a ridiculous set-shot attempt from inside the centre square - an attempt he nailed to give him his third major for the day and spark ecstatic teammates to congratulate him and a smile from coach Nathan Buckley in the box.
"Oh my god I was just shaking my head," Collingwood teammate Brodie Grundy told Fox Footy post-game.
"Absolutely ridiculous, but the kid's got some flair and we want to encourage that so it was awesome."
The day after the Round 9 win, Stephenson self-reported to Collingwood football manager Geoff Walsh, who told the AFL and commenced a month-long investigation.
A day after that, Stephenson was asked about the popularity surrounding his goal.
"I like to call it a torpedo actually, the barrel I'm not a big fan of. Nah, I think it's too risky, I think the coaches will get right on your back if too many people start trying them," Stephenson told reporters.
"I think it'll be my one and only for the year, so I'll have to live off it for the rest of the year."
AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon on Wednesday revealed the legs included in Stephenson's three multi-bets: Collingwood to win, Collingwood winning margin, Stephenson to kick a goal, Stephenson to kick multiple goals, Collingwood teammates to kick a goal, Collingwood teammates to kick multiple goals, Collingwood teammates to have in excess of a number of disposals. However the specifics of the three multis weren't revealed.
Dillon said it was concluded after reviewing the matches that Stephenson didn't influence or fix any outcomes in relation to the bets.
However the AFL can't categorically confirm Stephenson's Round 9 torpedo goal wasn't a result of him placing a bet on himself to boot three or more majors.
Speaking on Fox Footy's AFL 360, Whateley said the 10-week ban was appropriate - and anything less inappropriate - especially when you consider the possibilities of that kick against the Saints.
"It's the torpedo in the game against St Kilda, which every mind was quickly drawn to," Whateley told Fox Footy.
"This is one of the most joyful moments of the season. A young man, a long way out from goal, nothing swings on it as to whether he kicks it or not. He rolls out the 'barrel' - Malcolm Blight says this is what's missing from the game - he lands it from 65m, all of his teammates come to celebrate with him. Except, if the bet was 'three goals for me today and that's my crack at the third', then that takes us to a whole another plain."
Dillon said Stephenson knew he was breaking AFL rules when he placed the bet and self-reported due to his remorse, adding the Magpie's actions "compromised the integrity of the game".
"He was clear - he knew that he was doing the wrong thing," Dillon said.
"He couldn't explain it … he felt incredibly remorseful when he came to that conclusion."
Stephenson struggled to explain why it took three bets for him to realise his error and speak to Walsh.
"I think the first two times I was just a bit oblivious to it," he said.
"In the moment I was a little bit ignorant and I thought it might just be harmless, but after the third time it was just weighing on me. It was starting to build up.
"I was just feeling way too guilty."
- with AAP