Hocking receives one-game AFL ban - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hocking receives one-game AFL ban

By Roger Vaughan 23/08/2011 07:52:01 PM Comments (0)

Heath Hocking was determined to stop Daniel Kerr breaking clear of his tackle, but the AFL tribunal has ruled he went too far.

The jury took less than five minutes on Tuesday night to find the Essendon onballer guilty of rough conduct against his star West Coast opponent.

The one-match ban rules Hocking out of Sunday's game against Port Adelaide, which the Bombers must win to make the finals.

While they will start warm favourites against the last-placed Power, the Bombers thought they had a strong case and could clear Hocking.

Essendon also had nothing to lose by challenging the video charge, because his loading from a three-match ban earlier this year meant he faced a one-game penalty even if he took the early plea.

"We certainly thought it was well worth having a look at it tonight," Essendon football manager Paul Hamilton said.

"It's a difficult one for players and a difficult one for Heath in these circumstances.

"He's playing on a player who continually breaks tackles and gets up on his feet and gets away from tackles.

"We demonstrated that tonight ... Heath was quite aware of that going into the game."

As part of their evidence, Essendon showed a series of video clips where Kerr disposed of the ball despite being tackled.

In Saturday's game, Hocking slung Kerr to the ground in a fierce tackle but did not pin his arms.

While Kerr's head hit the ground, briefly dazing him, he played out the game with no ill effect.

Hocking is the latest player this season to fall foul of the league's crackdown on dangerous tackles.

Hamilton said they would accept the tribunal verdict but were disappointed.

The jury found that the incident was rough conduct, that Hocking acted unreasonably in the circumstances and he had been negligent.

Hocking testified he had no choice but to sling Kerr to one side, because he did not want to give away a free for a push in the back.

"He's a strong player and he was trying to get away, so I tried to get him to the ground," Hocking said.

"My intent was just to get him to the ground, not lift him."

But AFL advocate Jeff Gleeson said Hocking had not satisfied his duty as a player to take reasonable care.

Hocking is the first player in about six weeks to take his case to the tribunal.

In better news for the Bombers, they say captain Jobe Watson and Andrew Welsh should be available for selection after suffering concussion against the Eagles.

Essendon could also regain key position players Michael Hurley and Tayte Pears from injury.

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