Banned Fyfe has finals on his mind
Nat Fyfe. Pic: Ben Crabtree/WA News

A disappointed Nat Fyfe swung his focus to finals after his appeal against a two-match suspension was rejected yesterday.

The AFL Appeals Board took just five minutes to dismiss Fremantle's grounds for appeal over the ban handed down to the star Docker at the tribunal on Tuesday night.

The ruling means Fremantle will have to fight for a top-four berth without Fyfe and Michael Barlow (broken thumb), starting in Sunday's clash with Brisbane at the Gabba. They will also miss next Saturday's home match against Port Adelaide, which the Dockers may have to win to secure a double chance, depending on other results this weekend.

"We exhausted every avenue to try to get off," Fyfe said.

"The decision has been made.

"I will deal with it now and look forward to a big finals series."

In a planned two-part strategy to the appeals board, the Dockers argued that Tuesday night's tribunal chairman Ross Howie had "erred in law" by directing the tribunal jury to find Fyfe guilty of intentionally striking Hawthorn's Jordan Lewis last Sunday.

They had wanted the appeals board to re-open the possibility that Fyfe was guilty of recklessly striking Lewis and making high contact, because his intent had been to strike him across the chest.

Fyfe's advocate Stuart Morris said Howie's ruling could be correct only if it was the only finding open to the tribunal. But that wasn't the case because Fyfe had been willing to plead guilty to recklessly striking Lewis and tribunal prosecutor Jeff Gleeson had twice claimed the jury had the right to find Fyfe guilty of reckless striking as well as intentional striking, before changing his mind to agree with Howie.

But after 45 minutes of legal argument and a brief deliberation, chairman Peter O'Callaghan told the hearing the board was not satisfied Howie had erred.

Fremantle included Hayden Ballantyne in the team to play Brisbane, with Garrick Ibbotson, Nick Suban, Jack Hannath and Matt de Boer added to the extended bench.

┬ĚThe Dockers have re-signed midfielder Anthony Morabito for 2015, but Kepler Bradley will retire at the end of the season.

The West Australian

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