In another frustration for Carlton, the Blues are set to lose small forward Eddie Betts for three matches in a serious match review panel setback.

The panel charged Betts with rough conduct against St Kilda youngster Nathan Wright in Monday night's nine-point loss at Etihad Stadium.

Betts received a five-game ban, but Carlton's leading goalkicker for the past two seasons has a six-year good record which reduces it to four games.

If he takes the early plea, it becomes a three-match suspension.

Carlton coach Mick Malthouse had already lamented the loss through suspension of Jarrad Waite, just a week after he returned to action from a long-term injury.

Now Betts, who was in his third game back after missing three matches with a broken jaw, will be missing again.

Betts' high bump left Wright bleeding from the mouth and needing scans.

The case was one level short of being referred directly to the tribunal.

The panel ruled the bump was reckless, high contact and severe impact - a total of eight activation points under the tribunal system.

If the total had been nine points, Betts would have had to face the tribunal without the option of taking an early plea.

Betts will risk the five-game suspension if the Blues decide to go to the tribunal.

Carlton have until Wednesday morning to make the call.

The West Australian

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