McPhee, Lovett-Murray hit with AFL bans - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

McPhee, Lovett-Murray hit with AFL bans

06/05/2008 07:31:02 PM Comments (0)

Essendon's nose-diving AFL season suffered another blow when the tribunal confirmed one-match bans for Adam McPhee and Nathan Lovett-Murray.

McPhee pleaded not guilty to negligently making front-on contact with Port Adelaide forward Travis Boak, while Lovett-Murray pleaded guilty to striking Daniel Motlop and tried to have the charge downgraded from intentional to reckless.

The three-man tribunal jury took about two minutes to rule against Lovett-Murray, but needed around 10 minutes to decide McPhee's fate.

The Bombers are in big trouble with a 2-5 record and lost to Port last Sunday at Telstra Dome by 64 points.

On Sunday, seven members of Essendon's side had played 10 senior games or less, with three of them making their AFL debuts.

Their casualty list is 13 players long, featuring top players Scott Lucas, Dustin Fletcher and Mark McVeigh, and their next opponents after the break are Sydney at ANZ Stadium.

With Lucas out for the first half of the season because of a knee injury, McPhee had been playing as a lead-up forward and his absence will further erode their options in attack.

The league has taken a strong stance on duty of care when a player bumps an opponent from the front and this clearly counted against McPhee.

Boak had fumbled the ball late in the final term and was bent over when McPhee bumped him, an action the Bomber said he could not avoid.

"It happened in less than half a second, my decision had already been made ... I didn't have enough time to adjust," McPhee said in evidence.

McPhee faced a one-match ban had he taken an early plea, but there would have been only 3.13 carryover points.

Now, McPhee has 34.38 points added to his penalty if he commits another offence in the next 12 months.

Essendon's in-house counsel Dominic Cato conceded Lovett-Murray made a "somewhat hopeless" attempt to block Motlop, who starred with seven goals.

As Motlop ran past him, Lovett-Murray threw out his arm and collected the Power forward in the midriff.

"I tried to block with my shoulder, I realised he had run past me and I put my arm out," Lovett-Murray said.

The Bombers did not argue Lovett-Murray had struck Motlop, but argued it was a reckless rather than intentional action.

Had they succeeded, he would have escaped with a reprimand.

Unlike McPhee's case, the jury needed little time to rule against him.

Apart from the one-week ban, Lovett-Murray also has 62.5 demerit points against his name for the next 12 months.

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