Thomas free to play against Fremantle - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Thomas free to play against Fremantle

04/08/2009 08:51:14 PM Comments (0)

Port Adelaide's finals aspiration were given a boost on Tuesday night when defender Matt Thomas beat a rough conduct charge at the AFL tribunal.

Thomas was found not guilty of engaging in rough conduct against Hawthorn's Xavier Ellis at AAMI Stadium last Sunday, and was cleared to play in the Power's must-win clash with Fremantle at Subiaco Oval.

But Fremantle forward Hayden Ballantyne will not be taking part in that match, as he was suspended for two games after he was found guilty of making a forceful, front-on bump on the Western Bulldogs' Liam Picken at Etihad Stadium last Saturday.

Thomas and Ballantyne were originally suspended for one game each by the AFL match review panel, and were risking two-game suspensions by taking their cases to the tribunal.

But Thomas' success means he is available to play the Dockers in a game the Power must win to be assured of keeping their place in the eight in round 19.

Ballantyne paid the price for his gamble and was suspended for the games against Port and the round-20 clash with Melbourne.

Richmond's Jake King pleaded guilty to wrestling Melbourne's Aaron Davey at the MCG on Sunday and was fined $1,800.

Meanwhile, the AFL has warned clubs that umpires will embark on a crackdown on players who bump, push or strike opponents when the ball is further than five metres away.

The league said it was aware of some incidents where players were bumped or pushed when the ball was up to 100 metres away.

"AFL umpires will be instructed to closely monitor this practice and to pay free kicks where appropriate as this kind of contact is not within the spirit of the game," AFL umpires boss Jeff Gieschen said on Tuesday night.

"We wish to advise all clubs that we are aware of this practice increasing."

The AFL umpiring department has sent a reminder of the laws about prohibited contact to the clubs.

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