GEELONG great Gary Ablett is facing the prospect of missing a game through suspension for the first time in his glittering 328-game career after being offered a one-week holiday for striking Essendon’s Dylan Shiel in Sunday’s win at the MCG.
Match Review Officer Michael Christian deemed the first quarter incident as intentional conduct with low impact and high contact.
If the Cats accept the ban, the 34-year-old, two-time Brownlow medallist will miss this Sunday’s clash with North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium.
“The guidelines specify that a raised forearm is usually consistent that a strike is intentional,” Christian said.
“Gary’s forearm was raised, he jumped off the ground and made contact with Dylan Shiel.
“Nothing is ever clear-cut, there’s a lot of grey in lots of things, so it takes time to consider all aspects.
“We feel we’ve come to the right conclusion.”
He said it was similar to Hawthorn youngster James Cousins, who also was suspended for a game last week on a striking charge.
Christian was asked whether Shiel’s ability to play out the game influenced the the grading.
“In terms of impact, basically considering all the evidence … there was certainly enough in our view to constitute low impact,” he replied.
Christian said the AFL considered there was forceful head-high contact, even though the initial impact was with the forearm rather than the elbow.
Asked what weight was given to Ablett’s tribunal record, Christian replied: “nothing at all.
“I’m charged with the responsibility, (along) with Steve Hocking, to assess each incident in isolation,” Christian said.
“So that wasn’t taken into account.”
Christian said he also looked at an incident where Ablett appeared to drop his knees into an opponent, but decided it did not need a report.
Ablett is the only player facing suspension after the weekend’s games.
Western Bulldogs forward Billy Gowers can escape with a $1000 fine for head butting Richmond defender Dylan Grimes.
“I didn’t like the action, but when it came to grading, there was negligible impact,” Christian said.
“It’s an action we don’t want to see in the game.”
Brisbane forward Eric Hipwood was fined $2000 for striking and Gold Coast forward Jack Martin can accept a $1000 misconduct penalty.
Gold Coast pair Alex Sexton and Ben Ainsworth were fined $1000 apiece for misconduct against West Coast’s Brad Sheppard.
Twitter: @tom_king79 with AAP