Ballantyne on flag tightrope
Hayden Ballantyne. Pic: AFL Media

UPDATE: Hayden Ballantyne will walk a tightrope with the match review panel for the rest of the season in an unwanted danger to Fremantle's premiership tilt after earning his third ban in 18 months.

The Dockers' leading goal kicker today accepted a one-match ban for striking Greater Western Sydney defender Tomas Bugg off the play in Sunday's win at Patersons Stadium.

Ballantyne, Murphy accept bans

Ballantyne's latest absence is not expected to hurt the Dockers' prospects in the short term, with their next match coming against bottom team St Kilda at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

But the indiscretion has created the risk of Ballantyne being sidelined for a critical game in Fremantle's run home or a final, as he is burdened with fresh carryover points and an extra 10 per cent loading for the rest of 2014.

With the club accepting the ban Ballantyne still has 59.38 carryover points on his record.

That means even a minor striking, tripping or misconduct offence will result in another week on the sidelines.

Ballantyne has been suspended for a total of three weeks going back to round one, 2013.

The combined length of those bans means future penalties will be increased by 10 per cent as an added punishment to repeat offenders.

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon said he would not be sitting down to tell Ballantyne to change the way he played the game.

"He gets targeted a fair bit," Lyon told 6PR last night.

"We want our guys to play with passion. We don't want them to be robots, so Hayden's as passionate as we've got.

"It's driven him, the hard road down at Peel and Mandurah … his absolute strength we love.

"If it tips over and occasionally becomes a weakness, we'll wear that and move on."

The MRP assessed the blow to the chest that felled Bugg late in the third quarter as intentional, low impact and body contact, with Ballantyne's existing 87.5 carryover points counting against him.

He has driven the club's surge up the ladder over the past two months, kicking a career-high 38 goals this year.

Second-placed Fremantle are ideally placed to lock away a top-two finish. They are on the verge of breaking a club record nine-game winning streak that has stood since 2006.

They only have to beat the lowly Saints and then Carlton, who have won just one of their past seven matches, at Patersons Stadium on July 31 to set a new mark.

Gold Coast's Tom Murphy was offered a one-match ban for kneeing Bulldogs midfielder Jake Stringer. Port Adelaide's Kane Cornes can escape with a reprimand by pleading guilty to striking Richmond's Daniel Jackson.

The West Australian

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