Essendon superstar Dylan Shiel will remain suspended for two matches after the club failed in its AFL tribunal appeal in a dramatic, lengthy hearing.
The Bombers argued Shiel’s charge on North’s Curtis Taylor should have been graded as medium rather than high impact, which would have only resulted in a one-game ban.
The jury didn’t agree, finding there was potential to cause serious injury. After a lengthy hearing tribunal chairman Geoffrey Giudice concluded it was “fortunate the consequences were not greater for Curtis Taylor”.
Against the tribunal’s wishes, the Bombers also referenced Trent Cotchin’s 2017 preliminary final bump on Shiel (for which the Tigers captain was famously not suspended) as part of their supporting evidence.
“It changed the way I needed to approach contesting the ball in a 50-50 contest,” Shiel said of that challenge.
“I received a lot of coaching in my remaining time at the Giants from Lenny Hayes and Leon Cameron in how to best approach that contest, and not leaving my head exposed to contact from the opposing player.
“I’ve spent a lot of time on improving my technique, in protecting myself from an incident like that not happening again. I’ve also had to make an adjustment due to three significant shoulder operations during my career.”
The Bombers also made a last-ditch bid through Port Adelaide premiership coach and former GWS assistant Mark Williams who was brought in as a character witness. Shiel is dating Williams’ daughter.
Williams described Shiel as “one of the fairest players I’ve ever had anything to do with”, but it wasn’t enough to sway the panel.
Meanwile, St Kilda Saints’ Ben Long will miss three weeks for a high bump on Fremantle’s Sean Darcy.
The Saints plead guilty to the Match Review Officer Michael Christian’s charge of careless conduct with high conduct and severe impact.
As a result of the bump Darcy suffered “clear diagnosis of concussion” according to Fremantle doctors, as well as neck and jaw pain.
The jury of David Neitz, Shane Wakelin and Stephen Jurica needed less than half an hour to come to a conclusion that Long be suspended for three games.
“(Long) sees that Darcy is low, that he’s wide open and that he’s vulnerable. He enters the contest knowing all of these matters,” AFL QC Jeff Gleeson said.
“He also moves into the contest with acceleration – there’s almost a hop.
“It’s not inconsistent with him bracing for contact with a sizeable opponent, but neither does he decide to ride the contact to minimise it in any way.
“[Long] recognises the gravity of the incident and the harm that he has caused… we accept this as a point in his favour.”