Hall, Gaspar cleared for AFL grand final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hall, Gaspar cleared for AFL grand final

By Sam Lienert 20/09/2005 09:23:15 PM Comments (0)

The AFL's showcase game will not be denied one of its biggest stars after the tribunal cleared Sydney Swans skipper Barry Hall to play in Saturday's grand final.

The Swans' odds of beating West Coast at the MCG on Saturday and claiming their first premiership in 72 years lengthened significantly when their best player and leading goalkicker was reported.

Hall pleaded guilty to striking St Kilda's Matt Maguire to the stomach in last Friday's preliminary final, but successfully argued the incident took place "in play" rather than "behind play".

That had the effect of downgrading the offence from a level two, to level one striking charge, worth 125 activation points.

When combined with a 25 per cent reduction for his early guilty plea, it took the points level below the 100-point threshold for a suspension, meaning he received a reprimand, but is clear to play in the premiership decider.

Immediately after receiving the verdict, Hall thanked the supporters who had rallied behind him during an uncertain past few days, including a handful who gathered outside AFL House on Tuesday to await the decision.

"All the Sydney supporters, all the Melbourne supporters, there's a couple of people outside who have turned out for me, so that's fantastic," Hall said.

"Now I'm just really looking forward to Saturday, I can't wait to get back into it."

West Coast defender Travis Gaspar is also available to play on Saturday, after the tribunal found him not guilty of striking Adelaide's Ken McGregor in Saturday's preliminary final at Subiaco.

The jury agreed with Gaspar's argument, that his elbow to the face of McGregor before the opening bounce was an instinctive action committed in self-defence, as McGregor was trying to bump him.

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