Gold Coast’s Steven May has beaten a charge of rough conduct but a one-match ban handed to GWS player Devon Smith will stand.
Gold Coast’s Steven May has successfully contested a rough-conduct charge and will avoid a one-game ban for a bump on Brisbane’s Dayne Zorko.
But Greater Western Sydney’s Devon Smith, who contested a one-match suspension for striking Melbourne’s Bernie Vince, will see his penalty stand.
May and Smith both appeared at Tuesday’s AFL Tribunal hearing via video link.
A request by GWS to hear evidence from Vince was rejected by tribunal chairman John Hassett.
Video footage of the clash between Smith and Vince was shown to the tribunal members Wayne Henwood, David Neitz and tribunal spokesman Wayne Schimmelbusch.
After the ball went out of bounds on the wing during Sunday’s round-three game at Spotless Stadium, Smith could be seen approaching Vince from behind and thumping him in the back.
Vince collapsed and was paid a free kick, although Smith said Vince had winked at him to suggest he had exaggerated contact.
“He’s a mate of mine. As he got up, I gave him a push,” Smith said.
“Forearm in his back.”
Smith said it was a wet day and Vince appeared to have lost his footing, but legal counsel Jeff Gleeson said this evidence should be disregarded by the tribunal.
Gleeson said Smith had struck Vince with an elbow to the ribs, but Smith said: “I didn’t intend throwing an elbow at all.”
Smith had struck Vince with some force, Gleeson said. Smith said he didn’t think the force was hard.
“Here there is a completely unsuspecting player, unguarded,” Gleeson said.
Smith will miss Saturday’s game in Canberra against the Western Bulldogs.
His carryover points meant an early guilty plea would still have meant a suspension.
The tribunal imposed a penalty of 193.75 points on Smith.
The news was better for May, who collided heavily with Zorko in an attempt to put the Brisbane player off target with his shot for goal.
May argued his chest and shoulder made contact with Zorko’s chest and shoulder and that he had no recollection of any head contact.
Gleeson said the video footage suggested May’s shoulder hit Zorko’s head.
“You can’t be satisfied there was high contact,” player advocate Tony Burns said.
Schimmelbusch said the tribunal jury found the charge of rough-conduct not proven.
Gold Coast, who host Hawthorn on Saturday night, have accepted a one-game suspension for Brandon Matera on a rough-conduct charge following a clash with Brisbane’s Jed Adcock.
Brisbane chose not to challenge a two-match ban given to Daniel Merrett for striking David Swallow.
West Coast’s Luke Shuey and Collingwood’s Taylor Adams accepted one-match bans for striking and rough conduct respectively.