'Pies prepare for Maxwell's AFL appeal - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

'Pies prepare for Maxwell's AFL appeal

By Roger Vaughan 19/02/2009 09:06:06 PM Comments (0)

New Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell will go before the AFL Appeals Board to challenge a suspension that has sparked fierce debate around the league.

Noted player advocate Terry Forrest QC will argue on Friday morning that the guilty finding handed down at Tuesday night's tribunal hearing was unreasonable.

Indeed, the Magpies argue that the decision was "so unreasonable that no tribunal acting reasonably could have come to that decision having regard to the evidence before it".

Forrest has scored some big wins on behalf of players at the AFL tribunal, but no-one has successfully appealed since the current system started in 2005.

The appeals board will consist of chairman Peter O'Callaghan QC, former tribunal chairman Brian Collis QC and retired Victorian Court of Appeal President John Winneke.

Maxwell received a four-match suspension for rough conduct against West Coast youngster Patrick McGinnity in their round-one pre-season game.

McGinnity needed a plate surgically inserted for a broken jaw after Maxwell bumped him and is out of action for eight-to-12 weeks.

Even player advocate Jeff Gleeson QC conceded during Tuesday's hearing that Maxwell's bump on McGinnity was technically good.

But Gleeson added there was contact to McGinnity's jaw.

Collingwood argued the injury was an accident, with the side of Maxwell's head hitting the Eagle's jaw.

The case has re-ignited debate about the future of the bump in the modern game.

It is understood the Magpies will not call any new witnesses, instead relying on their argument that the verdict was not reasonable.

Curiously, the three-man jury called the tribunal back on Tuesday night after 25 minutes of deliberations.

The jury had to ask tribunal chairman David Jones for clarification on the two questions they had to answer - whether Maxwell had any realistic alternative to bumping McGinnity and, if so, whether the bump was reasonable in the circumstances.

After another five minutes, they ruled Maxwell had a realistic alternative and under the tribunal rules, that meant the contact was negligent and he was guilty.

If Maxwell's appeal is unsuccessful, he will be out of action at least until round two of the regular season.

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