Carlton's Stevens to miss two matches - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Carlton's Stevens to miss two matches

By Sam Lienert 17/03/2009 10:34:21 PM Comments (0)

The support of decorated former St Kilda veteran Robert Harvey failed to clear Carlton star midfielder Nick Stevens of a striking charge at the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday night.

Stevens was found guilty of striking Fremantle youngster Nick Suban, despite evidence from dual Brownlow Medallist and now Blues assistant coach Harvey that the type of contact he made was a common tactic for shrugging taggers.

But the outcome was not as bad as it could have been, as Stevens managed to shorten his penalty by one match when he had the charge downgraded from intentional to reckless.

It meant he was handed a one-game ban for striking Suban during Saturday's practice match at Bunbury in Western Australia, the same penalty he would have received had he pleaded guilty to the original charge.

The on-baller already had to serve a one-match suspension carried over from last season, meaning he will not start his 2009 campaign until round three.

Stevens, who connected with a right hand to the body of the Dockers first-year player as they were waiting for a boundary throw-in, argued that all he was trying to do was push his tagger away to make space to receive the ball.

He said Suban was holding his jumper and he pushed him with an open hand.

But his case was not helped by the fact that Suban fell to the ground in pain, compounded by a medical report from the Dockers which said that the Fremantle player complained of being "winded and nauseated".

Harvey gave evidence in support of Stevens, saying that as part of the Blues coaching staff he instructed all players to push off their opponents at stoppages, with Suban's reaction making the incident look worse than it was.

"Even as a player that got tagged a little bit myself, if the player doesn't go down you see that four or five times a week at an AFL game," Harvey said.

"It looks worse if a player goes down but I think that's something you see at all games."

But tribunal legal counsel Jeff Gleeson said it was obvious from video evidence that Stevens struck, rather than pushed Suban.

"Did it look like a push off? Of course it didn't. It was a swift blow delivered with force," Gleeson said.

Stevens will miss the AFL season-opener against Richmond at the MCG on Thursday week and the round two clash with Brisbane, before returning against Essendon.

Earlier in the day, Melbourne's Clint Bartram accepted a reprimand after pleading guilty to making forceful front-on contact to the Western Bulldogs' Daniel Giansiracusa in a practice match on Saturday.

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