AFL news, Richmond, Trent Cotchin, Tom Lynch, tribunal, suspension, high tackle, knee, St Kilda, Zak Jones, Dougal Howard


He’s a nice guy, no doubt. He’ll more often than not be sure to go and check you’re OK after he’s taken you out too.

But make no mistake Trent Cotchin is brutal on the footy field – and on Friday night Zak Jones became the latest victim of the Richmond skipper’s at-times dangerous approach to the opposition.

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In a controversy-filled game that saw regular offender Tom Lynch crack Ben Paton in the head with an elbow and kneel on the neck of Dougal Howard, it was Cotchin that delivered the most dramatic blow.

It came early in the second quarter after Saints player Jack Billings had been awarded a free kick about 45m from goal.

As the whistle was blown Jones picked up the footy and Cotchin caught him around the neck with his left hand.

Call us cynical but it appeared as though Cotchin – with the free kick to Billings already awarded – felt he had nothing to lose.

What followed appeared to be a split-second decision to get his money’s worth by aggressively swinging Jones around and burying him in the turf.

Richmond has made physicality part of its brand during a four-year run of preliminary final finishes or better and this was its captain sending a message.

But at what price?

Some viewers were calling for the AFL match review panel to take action after the peril Jones found himself in.

“This really looked dangerous,” comedian and footy fanatic Dave Hughes tweeted. “The AFL can’t ignore it.”

“Surely that earns an exit from the finals series,” added Australian cricketer Brad Hogg. “His mate at full forward has had enough chances as well.”

Cotchin will like his chances of escaping with a reprimand but what angered footy fans further was St Kilda wasn’t even given a 50m penalty, which would have made the ensuing shot at goal a gimme.

“Trent Cotchin really does have his own set of rules,” tweeted journalist Adam Curley.

Lynch also drew rage from viewers after the incidents involving Paton and Howard.

Actor and diehard Saints fan Eric Bana was filthy – and still upset about Ben Long being rubbed out of the game for a hit on Bulldog Jack Macrae last week – after Lynch’s elbow forced Paton from the ground.

“So Tom Lynch just spilt open Ben Patton with an elbow, Patton had to leave the ground, and not one Ch7 commentator mentions it? Oh wait, his name isn’t Ben Long,” Bana tweeted.

While that incident came in a marking contest, it was Lynch’s behind the play scuffle with Howard which drew the most attention.

Lynch started wrestling with Howard on the turf before appearing to press his left knee into the defender’s neck as he returned to his feet.

While it was another bad look in a match that had plenty provided by Richmond players, the reality is Lynch’s knee, and his elbow, and Cotchin’s tackle will be highly unlikely to earn more than a fine this week.

Expect fans to blow up then, too.



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Tribunal hands down Ben Long verdict


St Kilda’s Ben Long will miss Friday night’s semi-final against Richmond after failing to overturn his one-match suspension at the AFL Tribunal.

Long was charged with engaging in rough conduct on Western Bulldogs star Jack Macrae during the first quarter of Saturday’s elimination final.

The Saints defender was offered a one-match ban after Match Review Officer Michael Christian graded the bump as careless conduct, medium impact and high contact.

It’s another blow for Brett Ratten’s side with experienced pair Paddy Ryder and Jake Carlisle both unavailable to face the Tigers.

Ryder will miss the rest of the season with a hamstring tendon injury while Carlisle has left the club’s Queensland hub to attend the birth of his third child.

The Saints take on the reigning premiers at Metricon Stadium for a spot in the preliminary final.






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St Kilda defender Ben Long’s one-game suspension upheld by AFL tribunal



St Kilda defender Ben Long will miss Friday night’s semi-final against Richmond after his one-match suspension was upheld by the AFL tribunal.

Long was slapped with a ban for rough conduct after crunching Western Bulldogs midfielder Jack Macrae during St Kilda’s thrilling three-point elimination final win at the Gabba on Saturday.

He appeared before the tribunal on Monday night via video link in an attempt to clear his name.

Although Macrae was able to get up almost immediately and play out the match, the AFL assessed the hit as careless conduct, medium impact and high contact.

In a tweet from the club’s official Twitter account, St Kilda’s chief operating officer Simon Lethlean was quoted saying: “We are disappointed for Ben and will strongly assess our options for appeal.”

It is the 23-year-old’s second suspension this year after he received a three-match ban for a careless bump which left Fremantle ruckman Sean Darcy concussed in round six.

Long booted 14.9 last season but he has been used predominantly in defence this year, with his toughness proving crucial.

He has played 45 games since being drafted with pick No.25 in the 2016 national draft.

The Saints were desperate to avoid losing Long, with star ruckman Paddy Ryder and key defender Jake Carlisle already ruled out of Friday night’s sudden-death match against the Tigers.

Ryder has headed back to Melbourne for hamstring surgery after going down in the dying moments against the Bulldogs, while Carlisle has left the Saints’ Queensland hub to be with his partner ahead of the birth of their third child.

AAP/ABC



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AFL Tribunal live: Ben Long, St Kilda, live blog, hearing, suspension, bump on Jack Macrae, Match Review, latest news


St Kilda defender Ben Long will front the AFL Tribunal tonight, trying to make himself available for Friday night’s semi-final against Richmond. Follow live from 6pm EDT!

Long will face the Tribunal for rough conduct for the second time this season, after receiving a three-week ban earlier in the year for a bump on Fremantle’s Sean Darcy.

This time Long is appealing a one-week suspension handed down for a bump on Western Bulldogs midfielder Jack Macrae.

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Semi Final

Long charged into the second centre bounce of Saturday’s elimination final and collected Macrae, who had the ball, in the head with his shoulder.



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Bronson Xerri, drug tests, tribunal, Cronulla Sharks, anabolic steroids


Suspended Sharks star Bronson Xerri has elected to have his case heard before a tribunal as he fights to clear his name over two positive drug tests for anabolic steroids.

The 19-year-old has been suspended from playing since May after he tested positive and had been awaiting the results of his B-sample.

Those results arrived earlier this month and concluded that Xerri’s B-sample has also tested positive, with his career now hanging by a thread as he contemplates a four-year ban.

“Bronson Xerri elects to have his case heard before a tribunal,” Danny Weidler tweeted.

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Xerri returned two positive results for various performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone.

The hearing is likely to occur within six to eright weeks with Xerri and his lawyer Ramy Qutami needing to provide massive amounts of detail and information to be given any chance of avoiding a four-year ban.

“Bronson Xerri will have a hearing before an anti-doping tribunal. Expected to take place in 6-8 weeks,” Brent Read tweeted.

The NRL released a statement following Xerri’s second positive test.

“The National Rugby League (NRL) has issued Cronulla Sharks player Bronson Xerri with a Notice of Alleged Anti-Doping Rule Violations under the NRL’s Anti-Doping Policy,” the NRL said in a statement at the time.

“This follows the return of a positive sample and completion of the anti-doping process administered by Sport Integrity Australia.

“The Notice alleges that Mr Xerri breached the policy through the presence, use and possession of Anabolic Androgenic Steroids prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the NRL’s Anti-Doping Policy.

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“Mr Xerri was provisionally suspended from participating in any WADA compliant sport, including rugby league, on 26 May 2020 following the return of a positive sample for Testosterone, Androsterone, Etiocholanolone and 5b-androstane-3a,17b-diol.

“Under the NRL Anti-Doping Policy, Mr Xerri now has the opportunity to respond to the matters raised in the Notice of Alleged Anti-Doping Rule Violations.

“The NRL will continue to make support services available to Mr Xerri. The NRL will not be making further comment while this process is under way.”

Xerri scored 13 tries in 22 games for the Sharks in his rookie year in 2019 and was touted as a future Origin star by Immortal Andrew Johns.



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Umpires should regulate stagers on the field, not AFL tribunal, says Stephen Milne, Chris Scott


“You don’t obviously do it on purpose. You might milk it a little bit, put a little bit of mayonnaise on top,” Milne said.

“When I was playing you did it and it was up to the umpire to know that you’re doing it. If he pulled it up you would not do it anymore.

Stephen Milne believes staging should be regulated by the umpires.Credit:Vince Caligiuri

“I was pulled up by the umpire on two or three occasions and he said ‘Milney’, and I’d say, ‘Yeah I wasn’t meaning it’, but you do try to trick the umpire every now and then.”

It was part of Milne’s charm and a tactic that most players – if not all – have used during their career, sometimes enraging supporters in the moment. Then the moment passed and it was forgotten without an official stamp to brand a player for life.

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Since 2010 Leroy Jetta, Jarrad Waite, Ryan Crowley, Lynden Dunn, Michael Walters, Brayden Maynard, Alex Rance, Tom Papley, Mark Blicavs, Dylan Grimes, Josh Greene and Callum Sinclair have been fined or warned or for staging, with Brendon Goddard and Kane Cornes questioned about the issue when it first became a focus.

But everyone does it according to those who know such as Hall of Fame member Malcolm Blight, who reminded SEN listeners on Thursday that “staging has been going on forever”. Even Geelong coach Chris Scott, who has a low tolerance for staging, said it’s easy to be holier than thou about the issue until you’re in the game.

“Sometimes these things are an instinctive reaction. You can say in principle I would never exaggerate contact as a player and then you are in the moment and before you know it you have done it,” Scott said.

He said he was, in principle, against fining players as a deterrent and said he was happy when umpires told players they did not win a free because they ducked their head or exaggerated contact.

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“I think that, in general, is good policy,” Scott said.

A quick chat during a game helped regulate Milne in a career in which he kicked 574 goals in 275 games, slightly more than two goals per game.

He is philosophical about umpiring and players trying to win frees.

“I could have got 50 more free kicks and given away 50 more, you win some, you lose some,” Milne said.

“I thought the two on the weekend [involving Richmond’s Dylan Grimes and Nick Vlastuin] were not as big a deal as everyone thought they were.”

Milne makes a good point in saying that the context of the match informs the reaction to what the players do, with the margin critical to how supporters and the AFL seem to respond.

“Every player has done it but if a player does it two or three times the name gets bought up such as [Tom] Papley … if it happens four or five times, they start saying are you doing it all the time,” Milne said.

It’s now 10 years since Milne, along with Lance Franklin, Alan Didak and Cornes, appeared on an AFL video to illustrate the new rule “staging misconduct”.

It’s become clear this week that the ramifications of officially labelling a player a stager have grown bigger than imagined possible.

The players, past and present, seem in favour of self-regulation.

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AFL 2020: Dylan Grimes staging, tribunal verdict, Nick Vlastuin case thrown out, dangerous tackle, Damien Hardwick


Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has admitted he staged for free kicks during his playing career, defending cleared Tigers Dylan Grimes and Nick Vlaustin after they successfully appealed staging fines.

Grimes and Vlaustin had their financial sanctions cleared after lodging written submissions to legally-trained Tribunal jury members.

Speaking to media on Wednesday, Hardwick said Grimes and Vlaustin’s actions against Essendon were no different to those that regularly happen on the footy field.

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Round 14

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AFL 2020: Tribunal, Michael Christian, Match Review Officer, AFL suspensions, AFL 360


There is “bewilderment and frustration” with the “embarrassing” state of the AFL’s judiciary system, according to AFL 360 co-hosts Mark Robinson and Gerard Whateley.

On Monday night, Richmond forward Tom Lynch was sent to the AFL Tribunal by Match Review Officer Michael Christian, with the 27-year-old successfully arguing he pushed rather than struck Essendon defender Michael Hurley.

As two more players successfully argued down their penalties at the Tribunal on Tuesday, both for what were initially deemed sling tackles, Whateley said the Lynch verdict was just one example of the current state of the league’s judiciary.

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Round 14

Gawn returns to action

0:34



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AFL 2020: AFL Tribunal live blog, Sam Powell-Pepper Tribunal, Luke Dahlhaus Tribunal, Dylan Grimes, Nick Vlastuin, staging


Port Adelaide and Geelong have both received boosts ahead of their Round 14 clashes, with Sam Powell-Pepper and Luke Dahlhaus both free to play after AFL Tribunal hearings over their rough conduct charges.

Both incidents were assessed as being careless with medium impact and high contact on Hawthorn’s Ben McEvoy and Adelaide’s Matt Crouch respectively. Follow our live blog below.

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Evolution of tackle sanctions

2:31

Round 14

Meanwhile Richmond pair Dylan Grimes and Nick Vlastuin will provide written challenges to the AFL Tribunal after the received $750 and $500 fines respectively during Saturday’s Dreamtime game.



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AFL 2020, AFL Tribunal, Match Review Officer, Richmond, Tom Lynch, Michael Christian, Tom Lynch


Key forward Tom Lynch will be a confirmed starter for Richmond in Thursday’s clash against West Coast after being cleared the Tribunal on Monday night.

In bizarre circumstances, Lynch was sent to the Tribunal after striking Bomber Michael Hurley during the club’s win in Darwin over the weekend.

Despite the low force, Match Review Officer Michael Christian took the matter out of his hands by taking it higher.

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Round 14



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