Mitchell may put Hawks over medal hopes - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mitchell may put Hawks over medal hopes

By Adam Cooper and Roger Vaughan 26/05/2008 07:19:58 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn captain Sam Mitchell is set to sacrifice his Brownlow Medal eligibility to ensure he plays in Saturday's big AFL match against the Western Bulldogs.

Club football manager Mark Evans said the Brownlow was "not a consideration" as the unbeaten Hawks weigh up whether to contest his tripping charge.

Mitchell can plead guilty to the match review panel's charge of tripping Melbourne's Simon Buckley and accept a reprimand, which would clear him to play in the one-versus-three clash at Launceston's Aurora Stadium.

But doing so would rule the onballer ineligible to win the game's highest individual honour, as Mitchell's superb start to the season has him equal Brownlow favourite with Geelong's Gary Ablett with betting agency Centrebet, and second favourite with TAB Sportsbet.

If the Hawks took the case to the tribunal and lost, he would receive a one-game suspension.

"We don't think there's a lot to answer for, but there might be more danger than benefit," Evans said of the incident.

"We will make our final decision tomorrow morning."

The match review panel assessed Mitchell's contact on Buckley at the MCG on Sunday, when he stuck a foot out as Buckley ran to him to apply a shepherd, as intentional (three points), low impact (one) and to the body (one), which drew 125 demerit points and a one-game suspension.

But he can reduce that to 93.75 points through a guilty plea and good record, and under the one-game threshold.

AFL rules dictate players found guilty of offences initially totalling 100 or more demerit points are ineligible to win the Brownlow.

Carlton defender Jarrad Waite faces the opposite scenario to Mitchell, as he could be suspended from Saturday night's game against Geelong but remain eligible for the Brownlow.

Waite was charged with a level-one striking offence against Fremantle's Chris Mayne from the last quarter of last Saturday's game at Telstra Dome.

His strike was assessed as negligent conduct (one point), low impact (one) and high contact (two), which drew 80 demerit points and a reprimand.

But Waite's 93.75 carry-over points from earlier this year, when he struck Hawk Tim Clarke during the pre-season campaign, bumped his penalty to 173.75 points and a one-match ban.

A guilty plea would not be enough to reduce his penalty and clear Waite to play the Cats.

Waite's suspension comes at a bad time for the Blues' defence, as fellow backmen Michael Jamison (shoulder) and Bret Thornton (knee) missed the win over the Dockers.

Thornton is expected to return this weekend, but Jamison is unlikely.

Like Hawthorn, Carlton were on Monday considering their options.

In the only other reports laid by the match review panel, Dockers captain Matthew Pavlich and Melbourne midfielder Nathan Jones were both charged with making negligent contact with an umpire.

Both can pay $1,950 fines if they plead guilty.

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