Port's Motlop cleared by AFL tribunal - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Port's Motlop cleared by AFL tribunal

By Roger Vaughan and Ian McCullough 07/04/2009 09:40:11 PM Comments (0)

Port Adelaide's calculated gamble paid big dividends at the AFL tribunal as forward Daniel Motlop was found not guilty of a striking charge.

Although Essendon forward Adam McPhee left Tuesday's tribunal hearing with a one-match ban, he also had some success because the tribunal jury downgraded his offence, sparing him a three-game penalty.

In a busy tribunal session, Sydney co-captain Brett Kirk pleaded guilty to making reckless contact with an umpire and saved himself a one-match suspension.

Brisbane onballer Luke Power was found not guilty of negligent contact with an umpire and North Melbourne midfielder Michael Firrito was found not guilty of striking Western Bulldogs forward Brad Johnson.

For the second-successive week, Port took the risk of contesting a case where there was no video evidence.

Last week, ruckman Dean Brogan was found guilty of rough conduct and received a one-match ban.

But this time, the three-man ruled in Motlop's favour, deciding that he had not struck West Coast defender Adam Hunter to the head.

Reporting goal umpire Mike Spear was "100 per cent certain" in his evidence that the strike happened.

But Spear also admitted that Hunter had not remonstrated with Motlop after the alleged contact.

Hunter gave evidence backing Motlop's claim that they only wrestled and pushed.

"It was a difficult situation where there's no video evidence and we fully understand it's difficult to get players off when that's the case," said Port football manager Peter Rohde.

"There's a common perception out there that players look out for each other.

"We had trepidation coming, to be honest, because an umpire's view is always held in very high esteem.

"We're very pleased with how it went tonight ... it was a calculated gamble." Rohde also said it was disappointing that this was the second week in a row that there was no video evidence of a tribunal incident.

"Maybe that's just the way it happens, but one day maybe they will have a camera all over the ground," he said.

McPhee said he had no recollection of his contact with Fremantle's Scott Thornton, which left the Docker winded and forced him from Telstra Dome for about five minutes during Sunday's game.

Thornton gave evidence that McPhee struck his arm, forcing it into his midriff, and this caused his distress.

While the jury ruled it was a strike, they also downgraded the charge from intentional to reckless.

McPhee was facing a three-match ban under the original charge, but the downgrading meant he received 187.5 points - meaning a one-game ban and 87.5 demerit points.

McPhee, who kicked three goals against the Dockers, will miss Saturday night's match against unbeaten Carlton at the MCG.

Essendon officials declined to comment as they left the hearing.

Earlier in the evening, the tribunal accepted a match review panel recommendation that Kirk should receive 125 demerit points and a $2600 fine for his contact with field umpire Matthew James.

Under tribunal rules, the case had to go directly to the tribunal, but Kirk's guilty plea reduced the penalty to 93.5 points - under the 100-point threshold for a one-game ban - and a $1950 fine.

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