Tribunal rocks Freo with Farmer ban - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tribunal rocks Freo with Farmer ban

By Roger Vaughan 06/03/2007 10:43:19 PM Comments (0)

Fremantle will consider appealing Jeff Farmer's six-week suspension after a horror session for the club at Tuesday night's AFL tribunal.

The tribunal found Farmer guilty of his misconduct charge for eye-gouging and earlier handed key defender Michael Johnson a four-week ban for the new offence of bumping or making forceful contact from front-on.

Geelong small forward Mathew Stokes also received a four-week suspension for the front-on offence, ruling him out for the rest of the NAB Cup.

In the rest of the marathon five-hour tribunal session, Sydney midfielder Nic Fosdike had his striking charge downgraded from a one-week ban to a reprimand.

The tribunal also found Western Bulldogs midfielder Daniel Cross guilty of making contact with field umpire Ray Chamberlain and handed him a $3200 fine.

Farmer's six weeks is one of the heaviest penalties handed out under the new tribunal system.

The loss of Farmer and Johnson is a devastating early-season blow to the Dockers, who finished third last year and are widely tipped to challenge West Coast and Sydney for this year's premiership.

Johnson finished equal-second in the Dockers' best-and-fairest count last season and Farmer was seventh.

Farmer had one of the best seasons of his career, kicking 55 goals.

But Farmer also has a shocking tribunal record, with his 14th charge and the 10th guilty finding.

His games lost through suspension now total 18.

Farmer and Johnson were grim-faced as they left the tribunal without comment.

"It is disappointing, obviously we came over here thinking we could win both those cases," said Dockers official Steven Icke.

"Our thoughts at the moment....are about what our move might be in regards to certainly Jeff's position.

"We'll consider something....we need to consider it (an appeal), given the severity of the penalty.

"We thought we'd get him off....we thought we had a compelling case."

Under the tribunal system, the incident involving Farmer and Kangaroos opponent Daniel Pratt during Sunday's NAB Cup quarter-final at Telstra Dome could only be considered intentional or an accident.

The eye gouge is considered one of football's most serious offences, a fact acknowledged by Farmer during his evidence.

Farmer was standing over Pratt and testified he tried to push the Kangaroo player's head away when he accidentally made contact with the eye.

Pratt was left with a scratch to his eyeball, but the injury is not serious.

"There was no intention at all, I know the charge is very serious....up with being hit in the groin," Farmer said.

The three-man tribunal jury of former players Emmett Dunne, David Pittman and Wayne Schimmelbusch took seven minutes after the hour-long hearing to decide it was intentional.

Earlier, Johnson and Stokes had argued unsuccessfully that their front-on bumps were negligent, not reckless.

Had they been successful, they would have received only one game apiece.

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