Eagles badly need Judd to beat charge - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eagles badly need Judd to beat charge

By Roger Vaughan 28/05/2007 08:26:14 PM Comments (0)

Personnel and form concerns mean the Brownlow Medal is the least of West Coast's worries when Chris Judd fronts the AFL tribunal.

As expected, the Eagles announced their captain would contest his eye-gouging charge, with the star midfielder to appear via a video link from Perth.

Judd, the 2004 Brownlow Medallist, is the favourite for this year's award and betting on the medal is suspended pending the result of the hearing.

Judd's one-game suspension in 2005 for striking meant he faced a one-game suspension whether he contested the charge or not, so the Eagles had nothing to lose by going to the tribunal.

West Coast have lost two of their last three matches and will host the red-hot Kangaroos on Saturday with a depleted midfield.

They badly need Judd available, given Daniel Kerr will be in the second week of his two-game suspension and Andrew Embley is out with a knee injury.

By contrast, the Kangaroos are on a six-game winning streak.

Kerr was also an early-season Brownlow fancy before he pleaded guilty last week to a front-on contact charge.

Earlier, Eagles assistant coach Peter Sumich defended Judd for the incident involving Hawthorn defender Campbell Brown, which happened in the third quarter of Saturday's Launceston match.

"He was just trying to push a player off him who was pretty well on top of him, that's basically it," Sumich said.

Brown has also said he did not think there was anything in the incident and team-mate Shane Crawford defended Judd.

"I don't think there's much in it, Chris Judd is a very fair player, always has been," Crawford said.

But the match review panel handed Judd the misconduct charge, rating the incident negligent and categorising it a level-one offence.

Earlier this month, Melbourne defender Ben Holland escaped with a reprimand after he pleaded guilty to making contact with the face of Brad Johnson.

But Holland's misconduct charge was not specifically for eye-gouging, which is considered a more serious offence.

While the Eagles remain top, Sumich conceded they could ill-afford to lose arguably the game's top player for the Kangaroos game.

"We've been going alright, but it is (a loss), Chris Judd out, Daniel Kerr out, Ben Cousins, Andrew Embley, we never seem to say too much about those lost players," Sumich said.

"But we've done alright, (Matt) Priddis and a few others have stood up, so that's the key to us."

It was a busy day for the match review panel, with another seven players also receiving penalties.

Port Adelaide youngster Matt Thomas can take a one-match ban for rough conduct against Geelong defender Andrew Mackie.

Fremantle onballer Heath Black was charged with rough conduct against St Kilda'a Andrew McQualter, but he can accept a reprimand with an early plea.

The same applies to Adelaide's Martin Mattner, who was charged with tripping Carlton's Luke Blackwell, and Kangaroos onballer Brent Harvey for striking Melbourne midfielder Simon Godfrey.

Kangaroos forward Corey Jones and Geelong ruckman Mark Blake face $2400 fines for negligent umpire contact.

But the report threw out match-day reports for Fremantle's Michael Johnson (striking) and Carlton veteran Matthew Lappin (tripping).

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