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Whistleblower - Clean slate for grand finalists
Whistleblower

It’s going to be a massive day for the match review panel with Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell already reported and another five players who are still involved in finals facing scrutiny.

Some cases appear simple and should be thrown out. But Maxwell, Jarryd Roughead and Quinten Lynch aren’t as clear cut.

Then there’s repeat offender Jack Ziebell who could face his third significant suspension in 12 months and former Kangaroos captain Brent Harvey who struck Daniel Kerr behind the play.


REPORTS

Nick Maxwell (Collingwood) for engaging in rough conduct towards Paul Puopolo (Hawthorn)
Maxwell’s record: Nil

This is what we know. Maxwell laid a block on Puopolo as the Hawk tried to sprint forward to get front and square. He made high contact and Puopolo left the field bleeding from the nose. There is no doubt contact was made. There is no doubt that contact was high. The question is – was Maxwell’s conduct reckless, negligent or accidental?

The rules are very clear. They read: “The Player Rules provide that a player will be guilty of rough conduct where in the bumping of an opponent (whether reasonably or unreasonably) he causes forceful contact to be made with any part of his body to an opponent’s head or neck unless:

a) the player was contesting the ball and did not have a realistic alternative way to contest the ball; or

b) the forceful contact to the head or neck was caused by circumstances outside the control of the player which could not reasonably be foreseen.

Let’s look at (a). The ball was nowhere near Maxwell or Puopolo. Maxwell was trying to prevent the Hawk from getting to the contest. His actions can be seen to be part of the play, but it wasn’t in a contest for the ball.

So, we move to (b). Maxwell is 20cm taller than Puopolo. It would have been obvious to him that he was playing on a smaller opponent, so it is hard to argue that he didn’t notice the height difference.

With those two issues going against him, Maxwell is clearly in trouble.

The Collingwood captain didn’t charge at Puopolo. It wasn’t an act of violence or something designed to hurt him. That should avoid a charge of being reckless. It is more than likely going to be classified as negligent.

So, a negligent conduct, low impact and high contact charge is the scenario we should expect today. That would attract 125 points which Maxwell could then plead guilty to and accept a reprimand.

But if his actions are called reckless, or the impact is called medium, Maxwell will miss this weekend’s game with suspension.

James Kelly (Geelong) for engaging in rough conduct towards Tendai Mzungu (Fremantle)
Kelly’s record: 93.75 points left on his record.

This is the second time Kelly has been reported this year and, amazingly, the last incident also involved Tendai Mzungu. This time, Kelly made a last minute decision to turn his body as Mzungu had his head over the ball and that will have him in trouble. It was negligent to stop contesting the ball, he made high contact but it was only low impact. That will see Kelly handed 125 points. But, with his record hanging over his head, the penalty will be increased to one week.

INCIDENTS LIKELY TO BE ASSESSED

Quinten Lynch (West Coast) for engaging in rough conduct towards Scott McMahon (West Coast)
Lynch’s record: 37.5 points left on his record. Two matches suspended in the last three years, increasing any penalty by 20 per cent.

This will be interesting. Lynch kneed McMahon in the back after arriving late in a marking contest. But he did the same thing later in the match and arrived on time. The question is: were his actions unreasonable or unnecessary in those circumstances If reported, it is likely to be called negligent because he didn’t show a duty of care. It would be medium impact and body contact. Combined with his bad record and carry over points, that would result in an offer of a one week ban. If it’s called reckless, the penalty would become two weeks.

Chris Tarrant (Collingwood) for striking Lance Franklin (Hawthorn)
Tarrant’s record: Eligible for a 25 per cent discount for a clean record

The Magpie defender attacked Franklin all night. They fought constantly in the first term and Tarrant went extremely close to crossing the line. But at no stage did he actually hurt Franklin. He threw jumper punches which were below the level of force required to constitute a reportable offence. He also threw a round arm punch which collected Franklin in the stomach, but the Hawk got straight up. The stomach punch is the biggest concern. It was intentional and to the body, so if the MRP says it was low impact, Tarrant would be offered a reprimand.

Jarryd Roughead (Hawthorn) for engaging in rough conduct towards Chris Dawes (Collingwood)
Roughead’s record: Eligible for a 25 per cent discount for a clean record

Roughead was silly and the off the ball incident looked a lot like what got Steve Johnson into trouble last week. But unlike Johnson, Roughead wasn’t simply laying a block. It looked like he just wanted to bump Dawes. If the MRP lays the same charge as what they gave Johnson, it’ll be reckless conduct, low impact and body contact. That will allow Roughead to escape with a reprimand. But if they say it was intentional, Roughead will miss the preliminary final.

Jude Bolton (Sydney) for striking Patrick Dangerfield (Adelaide)
Bolton’s record: Nil

Bolton’s arm struck Dangerfield in the face after the Crow had kicked the ball late in the match. But it was clearly accidental. Bolton had attempted to smother the ball and was moving back to an upright position, but Dangerfield’s momentum meant he kept moving past the Swan. Bolton’s arm collected Dangerfield in the face but it was unavoidable.

Ryan O’Keefe (Sydney) for striking Matthew Wright (Adelaide)
O’Keefe’s record: Nil

This incident happened at a stoppage. Wright took front position and attempted to shepherd O’Keefe, so the Swan pushed off forcefully and struck Wright to the back of the head with his forearm. But it was more a push than a punch or a genuine strike. Wright wasn’t hurt and this should see O’Keefe given the green light to play in the preliminary final.

Jack Ziebell (North Melbourne) for engaging in rough conduct towards Josh Hill (West Coast)
Ziebell’s record: 67.5 points left on his record. More than five games suspended in the last three years, increasing his penalty by 50 per cent.

This could be a disaster for Ziebell. He attacked the contest vigorously but made high contact on Hill who was attempting to win the ball. If reported, the best case scenario is negligent conduct, low impact and high conduct and that would see Ziebell offered a one week ban. But if it is called reckless with medium impact, that would increase to four weeks. Because Hill had his head down, the MRP could also call it forceful front on contact. The reckless charge would then increase to five weeks. It’s the price you pay for a bad record.

Brent Harvey (North Melbourne) for striking Daniel Kerr (West Coast)
Harvey’s record: 93.75 points left on his record.

The vision tells the story for Harvey. He and Kerr were running through the centre square, Kerr hit Harvey in the stomach, but it wasn’t even close to being reportable. Harvey responded by throwing an arm at Kerr and striking him to the face. It was intentional and behind play. That means it can’t be called low impact. It’ll be medium impact and high contact. That adds up to 325 points. Throw in the 93.75 points left on his record and Harvey would be offered a three week suspension.