COLLINGWOOD giant Mason Cox will play in their AFL grand final rematch against West Coast after his one-game suspension was downgraded to a fine.
After a lengthy and complex one-hour hearing on Tuesday evening, the three-man jury took just five minutes to decide their verdict on the American’s rough conduct charge.
The jury of Richard Loveridge, Wayne Henwood and Jason Johnson ruled that Cox’s collision with Richmond defender Dylan Grimes was rough conduct.
They also agreed with the original classification of low impact.
But crucially they disagreed with match review officer Michael Christian, who had classified the charge as intentional conduct.
The jury ruled it was careless conduct, meaning a $3000 fine rather than the original one-game ban.
It’s a significant win for the Magpies ahead of Saturday night’s much- anticipated clash against the reigning premiers at the MCG.
“It’s downgraded to a $3000 fine, so it’s done and dusted and we’ll move on to West Coast,” Cox said after the hearing.
Soon after the verdict, Magpies captain Scott Pendlebury tweeted “Mason FREE”.
The charge from last Thursday night’s clash attracted plenty of media comment, with Adelaide captain Taylor Walker saying earlier on Tuesday that the case was a waste of time.
Richmond’s medical report, tabled early in the hearing, was good news for Cox.
It stated that Grimes did not suffer concussion as a result of the collision with the big American and is not expected to miss any games.
Cox testified that he was looking at the ball and was moving into position when he only saw Grimes “two or three feet” away.
“I just braced for collision – he was coming to me with force and I was coming back to my line,” Cox said.
Under questioning from AFL advocate Jeff Gleeson, Cox remained adamant that his only intention was to brace for a collision.
Gleeson had to repeat several questions to Cox, who usually ended up simply answering “no”.
In his summing up, Gleeson said the ball was about 15m from the collision and contended that Cox moved towards Grimes to either bump or block him.
“This is not a reflexive brace for impact, but a proactive move (towards Grimes),” Gleeson said.
“He is seen on the vision to take two or three steps towards Grimes.”
Cox’s advocate Robert O’Neill argued that Cox did not turn or lower his body to make contact with Grimes.
© AAP 2019