Stevens's AFL return facing delay - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Stevens's AFL return facing delay

16/03/2009 08:04:02 PM Comments (0)

Star Carlton midfielder Nick Stevens is facing a further delay to the start of the AFL season after another suspension.

Already banned for the opening round, Stevens can now accept a one-match ban for striking after Saturday's NAB Challenge match against Fremantle in Bunbury.

The match review panel slapped a two-game ban on Stevens for striking Docker Nick Suban, an incident that was caught on video.

Stevens' poor record and 68.75 carry-over points from last season increased the penalty from one to two games.

That means even if he reduces the penalty with the early plea, it is still a one-match ban and, with his previous suspension, he will miss the opening two rounds.

He risks being out of action until round four if he takes this new case to the tribunal and loses.

Stevens accepted a one-match suspension last year for striking Hawthorn's Rick Ladson in the final game of the regular season.

Also on Monday, the debate over the future of the bump in the game took another turn when the match review panel cleared Collingwood ruckman Chris Bryan.

He collected Geelong midfielder Joel Selwood with a bump during Friday night's NAB Cup grand final.

The panel found the bulk of the contact was to Selwood's left shoulder, before minimal high contact was made to the Geelong player.

The impact of the high contact was negligible so it was agreed that a free kick down the field was the appropriate penalty and no further action was required.

There has been considerable conjecture about whether the bump is on the way out of the game after the tribunal case last month involving Bryan's captain, Nick Maxwell.

The Collingwood defender originally received a four-match ban, but it was overturned on appeal.

Meanwhile, Melbourne's Clint Bartram can accept a reprimand after the charge of making forceful contact from front-on against Western Bulldogs star Daniel Giansiracusa was upheld.

The panel ruled the contact was high, but also decided it was negligent and low impact.

That means a one-game ban, or no suspension and 93.75 carryover points if Bartram does not take the case to the tribunal.

The match day report laid against Carlton's Simon Wiggins for engaging in rough conduct against Fremantle's Greg Broughton was dismissed.

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