Kerr can still play despite WAFL incident - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kerr can still play despite WAFL incident

By Roger Vaughan 20/03/2011 08:41:53 PM Comments (0)

West Coast star Daniel Kerr remains on track for an early-season AFL comeback after Saturday's controversial return to the playing field.

The onballer escaped official investigation for an incident as he played for East Fremantle in a WAFL match against Claremont.

Kerr, who was having his first game at any level since a serious hamstring injury in round four of the AFL last year, appeared to strike Claremont player Luke Blackwell to the face.

If the incident happened in the AFL, Kerr would definitely have come under video review.

But a change to WAFL rules means the umpires could not lodge a notice of investigation against Kerr about the off-the-ball incident.

Instead, it was up to Claremont to take the matter further and they declined.

"Our point of view is we went to the club straight after the game and said `you know you can issue a notice of investigation'," said WA Football Commission football director Grant Dorrington.

"They went and spoke with Blackwell ... and contacted us this morning, saying Blackwell indicated there was contact (but) it wasn't forceful."

The footage shows Blackwell apparently stunned by Kerr's forearm, but Claremont told the WAFL that either sweat or oil from Kerr's arm went in his eyes.

Dorrington added the WAFL could take further action if a player suffered a serious injury.

"If there was a broken jaw or something serious from any of these events, we can actually step in under a by-law about behaviour detrimental to the image of the game," he explained.

"There's that fine line of contact made - no split (skin), nothing.

"At the end of the game, under the rules we're governed by, we just go by Claremont's call."

Dorrington explained that the WAFL notice of investigation rules have changed because umpires were referring cases involving off-the-ball incidents to the tribunal for no result.

Unlike the AFL, there is little television footage from most WAFL matches, especially of incidents away from the play.

Television cameras were at Saturday's game specifically to cover Kerr.

"The umpires would go there and the tribunal chairman had no other witnesses and they'd cancel it," Dorrington said.

"It got to the stage where the chairman said `look, you don't have enough witnesses around these, if anything happens, to be able to prove it'."

A WAFL suspension would rule a player ineligible for his AFL team.

Regardless of how Kerr has pulled up from the game, he might not be ready for West Coast's round-one match next Sunday in Perth against North Melbourne because he is so short of match fitness.

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