Maxwell's ban thrown out by AFL board - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Maxwell's ban thrown out by AFL board

By Guy Hand 20/02/2009 07:39:50 PM Comments (0)

An "error of law" has put Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell in the clear, but what constitutes a legal hip and shoulder in the AFL is now more murky than ever.

Maxwell became the first player to successfully have his sentence thrown out on appeal under the current AFL tribunal system, with his four-match ban for rough conduct overturned by the appeals board on Friday.

The Magpies defender's hit on West Coast's Patrick McGinnity during their pre-season match a fortnight ago left the youngster with a broken jaw and polarised fans, many wondering whether the bump was in danger of becoming extinct.

Collingwood successfully argued an error in law in the way questions were put before the original tribunal jury, as well as the fact Maxwell had no reasonable alternative but to make contact with McGinnity.

But the difference in how the tribunal and appeals board have viewed the Maxwell case has left confusion among players, coaches and fans as to what now constitutes a legal bump.

"The contact made by Maxwell was reasonable and permitted under the laws of the game and the guidelines, and was therefore not negligent contact," appeals board chairman Peter O'Callaghan QC said in a statement explaining its decision.

"(But) the tribunal jury were not required to answer all of the questions that they ought to have in arriving at their decision and, in particular, whether Maxwell's shepherd was reasonable in the circumstances."

Maxwell is now free to play in Collingwood's next pre-season match and will not miss any games in either the NAB Cup or home-and-away season.

It is the first time in 11 cases brought before the appeals board since the new tribunal system was introduced in 2005 an appeal has been upheld.

Collingwood's advocate Terry Forrest QC argued if Maxwell had taken the option of putting his head over the ball rather than bumping McGinnity, it could have resulted in serious injury to both players, as well as Magpie Anthony Corrie who was nearby.

Forrest also said the option of Maxwell pulling out of the contest was unreasonable.

He suggested dodging a contest was not in the spirit of the game and wondered how a player could explain that sort of decision to a coach - in this case Collingwood's Mick Malthouse.

"That is not our game. I'm a tenth of a second away from impact, I'll pull out of this. I'm only the captain. Sorry Mick," Forrest told the panel.

But Forrest's masterstroke may have been his contention there was an "error of law" made in the framing of the questions to the original tribunal which found Maxwell guilty.

After a 15-minute adjournment called by the AFL's counsel Jeff Gleeson, Forrest added a ground for appeal that "there was an error of law in that all three alternatives countenanced by the rule ought to have been asked of the jury".

It took less than five minutes of deliberation for the panel of O'Callaghan, Brian Collis QC and retired Victorian Court of Appeal president John Winneke to free Maxwell.

AFL football operations manager Adrian Anderson admitted the league may need to clarify the rules, something Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson called for sooner rather than later to stop the confusion.

"We'll need some sort of clarification from the AFL and the umpiring department on just how they're going to adjudicate those types of situations - it's a very grey and murky area at the moment," Clarkson said.

Maxwell said he was relieved to be free to play and wished McGinnity well in his expected 12-week recovery.

"I always felt I did everything right in the circumstances in the contest and I'm happy that's been vindicated," Maxwell said.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news