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Lance Franklin appeal dismissed

27/08/2009 09:13:28 PM Comments (0)

Hawthorn will lobby the AFL over the controversial amendment to the bumping rule, after the appeal by star forward Lance Franklin failed.

After a marathon appeals hearing on Thursday night that lasted two hours and 20 minutes, the three-man appeals board took just five minutes to throw out the appeal against Franklin's two-game suspension.

"I was disappointed on Tuesday night (after the original tribunal hearing) and nothing has really changed," Franklin said as he left the hearing.

It means he will miss Saturday's crucial round-22 match against Essendon at the MCG, with the winner to take eighth spot for the finals.

Franklin's absence will be a major blow for the Hawks, who will now be without a recognised key forward for the Bombers match.

Franklin's season is over unless the defending premiers reach a preliminary final.

He was found guilty under the league's amendment to the bumping law earlier this year.

That had followed a successful appeal by Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell against his rough conduct suspension.

The amendment has made it much more difficult for a player to escape a rough conduct charge if he makes contact with an opponent's head while bumping.

Opponents of the controversial amendment say it will eliminate bumping from the game.

"We put up a pretty good fight tonight and got across a lot of points, most of them errors in law," said Hawks football manager Mark Evans.

"The point for me still remains that I'm not sure this law is in the spirit of the game.

"We look forward to lobbying the AFL about what we can do to get that reversed, to a much more reasonable position."

Franklin, Evans, tribunal advocate David Denton SC and other club officials stayed behind closed doors for nearly 45 minutes after the verdict.

Evans was asked if the Hawks were considering the radical step of going to the Supreme Court on Friday to seek an injunction against the appeal verdict.

"At this stage we're happy with what occurred tonight and we'll go home and sleep on it," Evans said.

The match review panel originally charged Franklin with rough conduct for the bump he laid on Richmond star Ben Cousins last Saturday night at the MCG.

Franklin's shoulder made contact with Cousins' head and the impact concussed the midfielder.

Denton had three basic themes to his appeal - that the AFL had made an error in processing the amendment to the bumping law; that tribunal chairman John Hassett had misdirected the jury with his summation of the hearing; and that the finding was perverse in that no jury acting reasonably could have found Franklin guilty.

But the appeals board of Peter O'Callaghan QC, Brian Collis QC and John Schultz rejected every argument that Denton made.

O'Callaghan had made it clear midway through the hearing that he did not agree with Denton's argument about the league enacting the amendment incorrectly.

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