Welsh fails to beat AFL tribunal charge - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Welsh fails to beat AFL tribunal charge

04/05/2010 07:34:32 PM Comments (0)

Essendon vice-captain Andrew Welsh has put his character on trial at the AFL tribunal and lost.

His bid to halve a four-match ban for kneeing Hawthorn midfielder Xavier Ellis in the groin backfired, with the tribunal ruling that Welsh must serve the full penalty.

The Bombers midfielder testified that he would never intentionally knee an opponent in the groin and said the match-day report had caused him great embarrassment.

"It was simply a reaction to the player coming in to block," Welsh said.

"I'm vice-captain of the football club, in the last two days I haven't been able to look my team-mates in the eye.

"It's one of the worst things you can do." Welsh pleaded guilty to the charge, but tried to have it downgraded from intentional conduct to reckless.

Had he succeeded, it would have reduced the penalty to two matches.

Welsh could also have taken the early plea and accepted a three-man suspension.

Essendon football manager Paul Hamilton said the club backed Welsh's character, but would not appeal the tribunal decision.

"We're disappointed, we understand the character of Andrew Welsh, a player who has never been suspended, so we're disappointed in the finding," Hamilton said.

"But it is the finding and we must accept it and we must unfortunately move on from there.

"Certainly the reason we're here tonight is because he believes strongly he had no intent in making contact to the groin.

"Andrew will have no problem facing his team-mates, his team-mates will have no doubt in their minds (about) the character of the man."

Tribunal advocate Jeff Gleeson successfully argued that Welsh had made two distinct movements, first kneeing Ellis as the Hawk tried to block him and then trying to chase opponent Brad Sewell.

The Hawks medical report on Ellis was also damning - it said Ellis was in "significant" pain post-match and was in some doubt for Saturday's must-win game against West Coast at Subiaco.

In other tribunal news, minor facial surgery meant a one-day delay to Brisbane defender Matt Maguire facing the tribunal on a rough conduct charge.

Maguire was injured in a clash with Sydney's Jude Bolton - the same incident that prompted the report.

Maguire is not expected to miss any matches because of the injury and will face the tribunal on Wednesday via video link.

The Lions backman is risking a two-game ban by contesting the charge.

Also on Tuesday, Melbourne captain James McDonald accepted a reprimand for striking North Melbourne's Andrew Swallow.

Bolton took a reprimand for front-on contact against Brisbane's Joel Patfull, while West Coast veteran Andrew Embley accepted his two-match ban for the same charge after an incident involving Fremantle onballer Rhys Palmer.

West Coast's Matt Priddis was fined for negligent umpire contact and Fremantle newcomer Hayden Ballantyne and Eagle Adam Selwood accepted fines for wrestling each other.

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