Waters hit with two-match AFL ban - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Waters hit with two-match AFL ban

03/06/2008 07:42:28 PM Comments (0)

The message from the AFL match review panel is clear - any player who makes head-high contact needs his own head read.

West Coast key defender Beau Waters became the third player this week to fall foul of the iron-clad policy, when the tribunal suspended him for two matches on a rough-conduct charge.

Earlier, Western Bulldogs forward Robert Murphy accepted a one-match penalty for rough conduct and on Monday night Adelaide forward Brett Burton took a two-match suspension for front-on contact.

All three incidents featured head-high contact.

While the AFL tribunal system came down hard on that trio, Essendon captain Matthew Lloyd escaped a fine for discussing the Murphy case before it went before the match review panel.

The three-man tribunal jury took 25 minutes to reach its verdict on Waters, but ultimately they were satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the Eagles backman was not contesting the ball.

Waters had argued contact with Collingwood onballer Shane O'Bree last Saturday at the MCG was unavoidable.

O'Bree was spun around in midair by the force of the collision and suffered a superficial cut above his left eye.

"My intention was to win the ball, initially I saw the ball was closer to myself than the Collingwood player," Waters said.

"I moved forward with intensity .. as I ran to the ball, unfortunately it bounced on on its end and was closer to (O'Bree).

"Out of my peripheral vision, I realised the Collingwood player was going to beat me to the ball.

"I braced myself ... my honest belief is that contact was inevitable."

Waters' poor tribunal record meant he would receive two matches whether he took an early plea or went to the tribunal, so the Eagles had nothing to lose by contesting the case.

The Eagles are 13th and will be without Waters for Saturday night's home game against Sydney and the Telstra Dome game the following week against Essendon.

Immediately after Saturday's win over Hawthorn, coach Rodney Eade had expressed optimism about Murphy's prospects after watching a replay of the bump on Hawthorn youngster Xavier Ellis.

But once the match review panel on Monday found Murphy had a case to answer, the Bulldogs knew they were in trouble.

"Obviously we are disappointed as we felt it was unavoidable contact, however the rules have been clearly stated that when it comes to head high contact the AFL will take a strong stance and we accept that and have therefore not contested the ruling," Bulldogs football manager James Fantasia said in a club statement.

On Monday night, the Crows could not make the phone call quickly enough to accept Burton's two-match penalty for front-on contact against Essendon defender Henry Slattery.

Murphy has 68.75 carryover points from his suspension, while Waters has 70 and Burton 25.

Meanwhile, AFL football operations Adrian Anderson spoke to Lloyd on Monday night after the Bombers skipper had given his opinion on Sunday about the Murphy bump.

Lloyd said players would be reluctant to apply bumps if Murphy was suspended, for fear of making accidental high contact.

A league spokesman said Anderson reminded Lloyd not to discuss matters where a report had been laid or where a case could go to the tribunal.

But he confirmed Lloyd would not be penalised.

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