Dawson, Koschitzke facing AFL bans - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dawson, Koschitzke facing AFL bans

By Roger Vaughan 20/07/2009 07:42:56 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda's odds of achieving the first perfect AFL season have lengthened again, with Justin Koschitzke and Zac Dawson facing suspension.

The AFL match review panel handed them two-game bans, which can be reduced to one if they take early pleas.

St Kilda are already having to cope with a six-day break ahead of Saturday night's blockbuster against the third-placed Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium.

The Bulldogs will have an eight-day rest and coach Ross Lyon is already describing it as "a really big ask".

No team has gone through an entire season unbeaten, with Essendon losing once on the way to the 2000 premiership.

Collingwood had a flawless regular season in 1929, but lost a semi-final on the way to the premiership.

St Kilda are two games clear on top of the ladder after 16 rounds.

But they are in the midst of a tough set of games, having handed Geelong their first loss of the season in the round 14 classic.

They then travelled to Perth, where they had a hard-fought match before breaking away from West Coast in the last quarter.

The Saints followed that up by brushing aside Adelaide on Sunday, but it was another physical clash.

On Monday, the match review panel handed Koschitzke a level-two striking charge for his late attempted spoil on Adelaide utility Richard Douglas.

His poor record and carryover points increased the penalty from one to two games and even if he accepts the charge, the ruck-forward is still out for a match.

Koschitzke was already nursing a bandaged left hand at Monday's recovery session after splitting some webbing in the final term.

Dawson was booked for rough conduct after an incident in the second quarter involving the Crows' Brad Symes.

The match review panel ruled it was a level-two offence, meaning a two-game suspension, but if he does not contest the charge Dawson will receive a one-match ban.

The Saints will decide on Tuesday morning whether to challenge either case at the tribunal.

Given the blatant nature of Koschitzke's incident, St Kilda are unlikely to challenge his charge.

Dawson has been a revelation this season, with the key defender playing every senior game so far after leaving Hawthorn.

Although he had a quiet game against the Crows, Koschitzke is one of the Saints' most important players and has only missed one game this season.

Speaking after the Adelaide win, Lyon referred several times to the Bulldogs having two extra days' break before their upcoming game.

Lyon was particularly mindful of the Bulldogs' pace, one of their biggest assets.

"Me sitting here objectively, it's going to be a really big ask - how are our legs going to be?" he said.

"They're an incredibly big challenge next Saturday night, it's a real concern for us probably.

"They go in with a significant physical advantage."

Saints ruckman Michael Gardiner, another big performer this year, was a late withdrawal from the Adelaide game with a corked calf.

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