The AFL has handed Port Adelaide a $100,000 fine for breaching the League's concussion management guidelines after a head clash between Power players Aliir Aliir and Lachie Jones.
Jones was subbed out with a migraine after the incident during the Showdown clash with Adelaide but Aliir was cleared to return to the field without undergoing a SCAT5 concussion test.
Port Adelaide stood by the management of both players immediately after the game but both Jones and Aliir were placed in concussion protocols on Monday, with the club accepting it had made an error of judgement on match day.
$50,000 of the fine will be included in Port Adelaide's football department soft cap, with the remainder to sit outside the cap unless the club commits a similar breach of concussion protocols before the end of the AFL and AFLW seasons in 2024.
Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley concedes club doctor Mark Fisher made a "big mistake" not putting Aliir Aliir through a concussion test but has thrown his support behind the man.
"It's a really tough question to be throwing out, 'Do we lack trust in Mark Fisher?'. That's not the case at all," Hinkley said.
"He himself has said he got it wrong and we should be able to go, 'You know what, he's got a lot of runs on the board'. He's done a lot of good things in his profession that we should give him some respect for."
Ken Hinkley says Port Adelaide's club doctor made the right decision in allowing Aliir Aliir to return to the field after a nasty collision with teammate Lachie Jones in the Power's loss to the Crows at Adelaide Oval.
While Jones underwent a head impact assessment and was cleared of a concussion but ruled out with a migraine at half-time, Aliir wasn't put through a concussion test by veteran Power doctor Mark Fisher.
"Mark Fisher is an incredibly experienced doctor, and he makes the right decisions that he needs to make. The doctor made the right decisions based around both players. He was really, really clear and certain to me," Hinkley said after the game.
Jones was subsequently subbed out of the game after being assessed as having a migraine.
"Lachie didn't fail a concussion test, but he didn't come back on and we subbed him. In fact, he was subbed out with a migraine. He'd done the concussion test, and he passed the concussion test. That's about all I can give you," Hinkley explained.
The AFL has released a statement on Port Adelaide's management of Aliir Aliir.
Aliir had a heavy collision with teammate Lachie Jones that brought play to a stop in the second quarter at Adelaide Oval.
While Jones underwent a head impact assessment and was cleared of a concussion but ruled out with a migraine at half-time, Aliir returned to the ground later in the quarter and played out the game.
"Aliir and Jones had a heavy collision which resulted in both players undertaking head injury assessments (HIA) and Jones being substituted from the game after a SCAT5 test and Aliir returning to the game after his initial HIA," the statement read.
"Over the coming days the AFL will continue to have dialogue with the Port Adelaide Football Department and their Club Doctor to closely monitor the management of Aliir and Jones.
"The AFL will provide a further update in due course."
Aliir Aliir says he is focused on the future and continuing his bid to cement himself in the Swans' side after spending 18 months in the footy wilderness.
Aliir was the feelgood story of Sydney's run to the Grand Final a couple of seasons ago, but a knee injury cost him the chance of playing in the decider, and the next year was ruined by a combination of injuries and an off-field indiscretion.
Coach John Longmire didn't pick the promising youngster after he missed a training session ahead of a round seven clash with Brisbane and dropped him after one appearance in round four this year.
But after an extended run in the NEAFL the athletic rebounding backman earned a recall against West Coast in round 13 and has been outstanding since.
"I'm feeling more confident the more I play and it's just about worrying about what I bring to the team, and what my strengths are," Aliir said.
"With my run and carry, it's about having the confidence to do that week in week out, and at the moment I'm feeling good with that (part of my game)."
Sydney coach John Longmire says he is keen to try Aliir Aliir in a variety of roles in 2018.
"We think he can play as a key defender, but also a third tall role and give us some more rebound and punch from our back half. We think he can also play in the ruck as a second ruck and give us some real mobility around the ground," Longmire said.
"Ultimately, it will be determined by form and what roles are there – he just needs to grab them."
The premiership dream of Aliir Aliir ends in heartbreak after the defender was ruled out of the 2016 Grand Final with a right knee injury.
Aliir suffered a low-grade medial strain late in the first quarter of the Swans' preliminary final win over Geelong, and failed to get through the club's most recent training session.
"Aliir has done all he could to give himself a chance to play on Saturday. Unfortunately he was unable to complete training and therefore can’t be considered for selection this week." Sydney Swans football manager Tom Harley said.
"It’s always a tough situation for players facing some uncertainty over their fitness ahead of a game. Aliir is a young man of outstanding character and a bright future and he will be supporting the team on the weekend."
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has spoken of the remarkable story of Sydney Swans defender Aliir Aliir at a United Nations conference in New York.
Addressing the Leaders Summit on Refugees at a UN General Assembly meeting convened by US president Barack Obama on Thursday, Turnbull pointed to Aliir as a shining example of the success of the Australia's migrant policy.
"For Aliir, his family and 150,000 other men, women and children, Kakuma refugee camp was their home," Turnbull said in his address.
"The camp provided the bare necessities of food and shelter, but sports equipment was unimaginable. Aliir and his friends would use strips of old clothing as a football.
"He was seven when his family came to Australia. Tall, fast and agile, Aliir was a natural for Australian Rules football and once he took up the game hasn't looked back."
Sudanese Swan Aliir Aliir tells of how he started playing footy after his arrival to Australia.
"I didn't speak any English when I came to Australia and the only way I could connect with other kids was through sport," Aliir said.
"Obviously, I picked up English here at school and through watching TV. The only sport I knew was soccer and I didn't pick up another sport until I was in high school. Some of my mates were having a kick of the footy in the playground and encouraged me to have a kick with them.
"I was used to the round ball and I really didn't know how to hold a football properly. My friend taught me how to kick it and he was the one who asked me if I had thought about playing for a club. I wasn't too sure, but I like to try new things so I gave it a go."
A junior coach's advice to watch games on TV as a way of learning more about the sport increased Aliir's craving for the high ball, even though it temporarily fostered a bad habit.
"The first time I watched a game, Nic Naitanui was playing and he took a massive speccy. That's what really got me on board to want to play AFL," Aliir said.
"I remember going back to training and asking the coach, 'Am I allowed to do this?' And he said, 'Yeah, you can do it as much as you like, so long as you grab the ball.' For a while, all I tried to do was take hangers.
"Understanding the game took a long time. I knew the aim of the game, but I had to learn more about when and where to run and where to go and when to play offence and defence. I'm still developing and learning new things. I feel like I'm just starting out."
Aliir Aliir believes his most important role, as a multicultural ambassador for the AFL, is to inspire a new wave of kids to take up the game.
Aliir's debut for the Swans against the Brisbane Lions last week created a media buzz around the League, and he told AFL.com.au that he plans to use the interest in his story to promote the game, and help multicultural kids find their pathway to the AFL.
"I just want to get as many multicultural kids out there playing as I can," he said.
"Every now and then I get little kids messaging me on social media asking me what junior clubs they can join and little things like that.
"There's other times where I travel out to Blacktown and talk to the African community out there because I know there's a lot of kids who want to get into footy but they don't know how.
"My job is to chat with them, help them connect with clubs and get them involved.
"Most of these kids are starting a bit later and miss out on programs like Auskick.
"Here in Sydney there's a lot of multicultural kids and it would be great to get them involved and I'll do my part to make that happen.
"It would be great especially to see more Sudanese playing the game."
The AFL's Multicultural Program will expand to 18 player ambassadors in 2016 and will also include two female players.
Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Darcy Vescio will be joined in promoting some of the many diverse backgrounds in Australia’s Game by Brisbane Lions Vice Captain Dayne Zorko, Geelong’s Tom Hawkins, Fremantle’s Tendai Mzundu, Gold Coast SUNS players Adam Saad and Tom Nicholls, Sydney Swan Aliir Aliir and Western Bulldogs player Jason Johannisen.
The new additions in 2016 join existing Australia Post AFL Multicultural Player Ambassadors David Zaharakis (Essendon), Stephen Coniglio (GWS GIANTS), Paul Puopolo (Hawthorn), Shem Tatupu (Hawthorn), Alipate Carlile (Port Adelaide), Jimmy Toumpas (Port Adelaide), Bachar Houli (Richmond), Nic Naitanui (West Coast) and Lin Jong (Western Bulldogs).
“The expanded list of 18 ambassadors, representing 13 AFL Clubs and two female Clubs, will play a crucial role in raising cultural understanding, inclusion and participation at all levels of Australian Football,” AFL General Manager Game and Market Development Simon Lethlean said.