Adelaide captain Rory Sloane has had a one-match ban overturned, with Brisbane’s Mitch Robinson and West Coast’s Willie Rioli now fighting to do the same. LIVE FROM 5PM AEDT.
All three players were handed one-match suspensions with Sloane (from 5pm AEDT) up first, before Rioli (from 6:15pm AEDT) and Robinson (from 7:30pm AEDT).
The Crows on Tuesday morning announced they’d appeal the sanction given to Sloane by the Match Review Officer for making contact to the eye region of Fremantle midfielder Blake Acres.
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The incident, which occurred in the first quarter, was assessed as intentional conduct, low impact and high contact, equating to a one-week suspension.
Sloane attempted to downgrade the “intentional” conduct charge to “careless”, saying he was “very shocked” when he first learned of the charge given his own history with serious eye injuries.
One of those injuries, a detached retina, brought him dangerously close to the end of his career and the loss of sight in his eye, Sloane said.
“For me, there’s no way in the world I would potentially go after anyone’s eyes because I’m well aware of the damage that can cause,” he said.
The league attempted to argue Sloane’s character should not have a bearing on the outcome of the case, while Sloane’s representative used a character reference from former teammate James Podsiadly in a bid to add further weight to the legitimacy of Sloane’s testimony.
After a period of deliberation, the jury agreed to downgrade the charge from ‘intentional’ to ‘careless’, meaning Sloane is fined $2000 and free to face Collingwood on Saturday.
The jury found contact to the eye was minimal and that Sloane’s testimony carried weight.
Rioli’s representative argued the contact with Matt Rowell (judged careless conduct, medium impact and high contact) was “unavoidable” and that there was no high contact on Rowell, who did not require a concussion test.
The representative also pointed out no free kick was awarded to Rowell.
West Coast pointed to a photo of the collision claiming there was “daylight between the chin of Rowell and Rioli”.
“I believe my duty was to commit to the contest and help my team at any cost. It’s unfortunate it escalated like this but my intention was just to win the ball,” Rioli said.
Robinson was also handed a one-match ban for his front-on bump on Port Adelaide’s Xavier Duursma.
The Lions veteran’s bump during Brisbane’s win over the Power was graded as careless conduct, high contact and medium impact.
Rioli on Monday was also offered a one-match suspension for his brutal collision with Gold Coast’s Matt Rowell during Sunday’s loss.
Footy commentators and fans were left stunned Rowell wasn’t awarded a free kick after Rioli collided hip-first with the Suns gun.
The AFL confirmed on Tuesday the timings of the cases. Sloane’s hearing will begin at 5pm AEDT while Rioli and Robinson’s cases are scheduled to be heard at 6:15pm and 7:30pm respectively.
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