AFL takes dim view of Stratton pinching

June 17, 2019 7:54 pm in by

HAWTHORN captain Ben Stratton escaped a pinching charge a fortnight ago because the AFL says there was no clear evidence.

Stratton will front the tribunal on Tuesday night on a serious misconduct charge for repeatedly pinching Essendon opponent Orazio Fantasia during Friday night’s game.

He was also referred on a separate charge of stomping Shaun McKernan.

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Match reviewer Michael Christian was asked on Monday why Stratton was not cited for pinching Brisbane opponent Charlie Cameron in their round-11 clash.

Stratton also niggled Cameron during that match and the TV coverage of the game speculated about the Hawks defender’s tactics.

“There was no clear evidence that was presented of pinching in that particular case,” Christian said.

But there were no doubts after Friday night’s game, with the back of Fantasia’s left upper arm covered in bruises.

“After much consideration, given the … multiple times we had evidence of pinching, it was decided that the most appropriate action was to charge Ben under the serious misconduct provisions, which means a direct referral,” Christian said.

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“It’s not viewed upon very well at all and it’s something we don’t like to see in the game.”

Given Stratton’s remorse and public criticism even from his own club, the Hawks skipper is certain to plead guilty to the pinching charge and throw himself at the mercy of the tribunal.

But he will do well to escape suspension.

Capping a dirty night for the first-year skipper, he was also fined $1000 for an obscene gesture to the crowd.

Stratton conceded over the weekend that the pinching was not a great look for the game or a great example for kids.

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Hawks chief executive Justin Reeves made his feelings about Stratton’s brain fade clear.

“Ben is a very respected figure at our football club, but his actions on Friday night let himself and the club down,” Reeves said.

“His behaviour was certainly not reflective of how Hawthorn play and as our captain we expect more from him.

“We have spoken with Ben following the game and he is incredibly remorseful.”

Fremantle tagger Ryan Crowley was fined $1200 six years ago for pinching North Melbourne great Brent Harvey

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Hawthorn’s Jarman Impey can also accept a $2000 fine for striking Zach Merrett.

Also on Monday, North Melbourne key forward Ben Brown was cleared of a match day report after he elbowed GWS defender Matt Buntine to the head.

Christian ruled there was insufficient force to warrant a charge.

Kangaroos skipper Jack Ziebell was also cleared of a bump on Toby Greene.

But two teammates will be out of pocket, with Kayne Turner offered a $2000 fine for striking Jeremy Cameron.

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Luke Davies-Uniacke was fined $1000 for umpire contact.

Carlton veteran Dale Thomas faces a $2000 fine for striking Western Bulldogs opponent Josh Dunkley.

Fremantle’s David Mundy was fined $1000 for pushing Port Adelaide forward Robbie Gray into the path of an umpire.

© AAP 2019