Steven King accepts four-week AFL ban - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Steven King accepts four-week AFL ban

09/06/2009 08:02:04 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda ruckman Steven King will miss four matches - including the most anticipated game of the AFL home and away season - over his off-the-ball clash with North Melbourne's Sam Power.

But Essendon have averted a ruck crisis, with big man Paddy Ryder cleared of a rough conduct charge at the AFL Tribunal.

King decided not to risk a six-match suspension by visiting the tribunal, instead submitting an early guilty plea to his rough conduct charge to limit the ban to four games.

Power was knocked unconscious and suffered severe concussion as a result of Saturday's collision at Etihad Stadium, which occurred well off the ball and was deemed as intentional by the match review panel.

The Saints will be able to replace King with fellow ruckman Michael Gardiner for Friday night's clash with Carlton at Etihad Stadium, with Gardiner having already served a one-match ban of his own.

King will also miss games against Richmond, Geelong and West Coast.

It is his absence for the July 5 clash with his former club the Cats that will hurt him and his team the most.

The Saints and Geelong are both unbeaten at the halfway mark of the season.

And the Cats expect to have their No.1 ruckman Brad Ottens - out since round two with a knee injury - back by that stage, with Ottens a chance to return against Port Adelaide the previous weekend.

It will also mean former Geelong captain King will have to wait at least until this year's finals series for a chance to post a win against his old side, having been on the losing end of two clashes last year.

But the Bombers are breathing a sigh of relief, after Ryder avoided a two-match ban when the tribunal cleared him over a bump which caused head injuries to Adelaide's Patrick Dangerfield at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

The club was already missing ruckmen David Hille, Jason Laycock and Tom Bellchambers with long-term injuries and football manager Paul Hamilton admitted it would have been a severe blow if they lost Ryder as well.

But he said they had been confident the tribunal would clear the Essendon big man.

"We were confident going in because we believe his action was reasonable, we knew what his intent was and we believe he's a very fair player," Hamilton.

"So whilst it is considered a risk, which it is because it would have been two weeks without a ruckman of any sort, we didn't think it was in the overall scheme of things.

"We knew that Patrick's actions were reasonable at the time and it was terrific the tribunal found the same."

Ryder laid a legitimate shoulder-to-shoulder shepherd on Dangerfield, but after the initial contact his shoulder slipped up and connected with the Crow's head.

An Adelaide medical report said Dangerfield suffered a contusion to the back of the head, a neck sprain and a headache and had needed physiotherapy.

But Ryder's advocate Michael Tovey QC said there was no rule banning incidental head contact in such a situation, and after about 15 minutes of deliberation the tribunal found in his favour.

Hamilton said scans had also cleared Ryder of a possible wrist injury from the weekend's match, meaning he will play in their next game against Melbourne on Friday week.

Earlier, Port Adelaide's Toby Thurstans failed to beat a charge of making negligent contact with an umpire, meaning he has to pay a $2,600 fine.

Another Power player Nick Lower accepted a reprimand and 93.75 points towards his future record for striking Fremantle's Paul Hasleby.

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