Cats' AFL tribunal bid fails - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats' AFL tribunal bid fails

By Roger Vaughan 14/06/2011 07:47:43 PM Comments (0)

Geelong will be without star midfielder Joel Selwood for the next four AFL matches after they gambled on his impeccable tribunal record and lost.

The 23-year-old's previously-clean sheet was at the heart of his case on Tuesday night when he tried to lessen the penalty for striking Hawthorn opponent Brent Guerra.

Selwood pleaded guilty to the charge, immediately putting him out of contention for the Brownlow Medal, but Geelong tried to downgrade the charge from intentional to reckless.

Had they succeeded, Selwood would only have received a two-game ban.

After a 20-minute deliberation, the jury ruled it was intentional and that meant the four-game ban would stand.

He also could have accepted a three-game suspension by not going to the tribunal.

Selwood emphasised several times during his evidence that he had not struck Guerra intentionally and added it was not in his character.

It was the first time the Geelong vice-captain had been charged - let alone suspended - in his glittering 104-game AFL career.

"I have never, ever struck anyone intentionally in my life," Selwood said.

"My intention was only to get to the other side of him."

Cats football manager Neil Balme said after the hearing that they were "bitterly disappointed".

Asked if they would consider an appeal, Balme replied "I won't say anything".

Selwood, one of the league's best onballers, will miss the unbeaten Cats' mid-season games against St Kilda, Adelaide, Essendon and West Coast.

The only video footage of the incident was a down-the-ground angle, which was inconclusive.

But the Hawthorn medical report was damning, saying Guerra had suffered a perforated eardrum in the incident.

While the Hawks say Guerra should be available for Saturday's Launceston game against Gold Coast, he will see an ear, nose and throat surgeon about the injury.

Selwood said he could not recall which part of him made contact with Guerra's ear.

He said Guerra was blocking him in the last few frenetic minutes of Saturday night's match, which Geelong won by five points.

Selwood said he tried to gain a hold of Guerra by the shoulder and then pull him to one side so he could break clear.

It was in that motion that Selwood somehow hit Guerra's ear.

Tribunal advocate Jeff Gleeson SC put to Selwood under cross examination that his explanation of how he struck Guerra was "absolutely implausible", an accusation that brought an immediate objection from Geelong advocate Peter Murdoch QC.

Selwood admitted that in the last few minutes of a tight match, the stakes were high.

"You do anything for your side to win, but not once did I deliberately hit him in the head," he said.

Selwood is the second Brownlow Medal favourite in a week to be ruled ineligible for the award, following the one-match ban for Collingwood midfielder Dale Thomas.

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