Franklin facing one-match AFL ban - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Franklin facing one-match AFL ban

24/08/2009 05:40:33 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn look certain to front the AFL tribunal on Tuesday night to unhook superstar forward Lance Franklin from a suspension which could kill off the premiers' hopes of making this year's finals.

Franklin faces at least a one-match ban - and possibly two if he fights and fails - for a head-high bump which knocked out Richmond's Ben Cousins last Saturday night.

The AFL match review panel has charged Franklin with rough conduct and slapped him with a one-week suspension if he makes an early guilty plea.

That would rise to two matches if Hawthorn go to the tribunal and fail to clear Franklin.

But with the Hawks' season over if they lose against Essendon on Saturday in a virtual elimination final, they are set to roll the dice as they attempt to avoid becoming the first reigning premiers to miss the finals the following year since Adelaide in 1999.

Hawthorn have until Tuesday morning to decide their strategy.

The Hawks are already missing forwards Jarryd Roughead and Mark Williams through injury, meaning a severely depleted attack for the do-or-die clash with Essendon at the MCG if Franklin is suspended.

The winner of Saturday's match will take the last remaining finals spot.

The prospect of losing Franklin comes just as the reigning Coleman medallist has returned to his match-winning ways, as he effectively dragged the Hawks over the line against the Tigers - their first win in five games.

Franklin booted five goals, gathered 21 possessions and took eight marks against Richmond.

Hawthorn captain Sam Mitchell admitted Franklin was flourishing at the right time, especially as the Hawks' midfield supply to him improved markedly against the Tigers.

"He looked dangerous on the weekend ... people are pretty critical of him because they put a lot of expectation on him," Mitchell said.

"He's playing a really good team role at the moment.

"Sometimes he's coming up the ground and helping us get it inside 50, sometimes he's going to be the target up there."

In other match review panel rulings, Melbourne ruckman Mark Jamar and Andrew Swallow were hit with $1,950 fines for making contact with umpires.

But Port Adelaide forward Brett Ebert escaped any action over his heavy clash with Brisbane's Cheynee Stiller which left the Lions defender concussed.

"Ebert had his eyes on the ball at all times and ... Stiller was obscured by another Brisbane Lions player as Ebert approached the contest," the panel said in a statement.

"Just as Ebert arrived at the contest, he saw Stiller and attempted to avoid contact.

"The action was not considered unreasonable in the circumstances as Ebert had his eyes on the ball and attempted to minimise contact once he saw Stiller."

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