Saints appeal Baker suspension - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints appeal Baker suspension

By Roger Vaughan and Jordan Chong 22/08/2007 07:24:17 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire joined the call for full video coverage of AFL matches as St Kilda prepared their appeal against Steven Baker's suspension.

The Saints were stunned on Thursday night when Baker received a seven-game suspension for rough conduct against Fremantle opponent Jeff Farmer.

Apart from no video footage of the incident last Saturday at Telstra Dome, the other intriguing feature of this case is that the tribunal accepted Baker's version of events - and suspended him anyway.

The Saints indicated that the tribunal's acceptance of his evidence will be a feature of their appeal.

"The club has appealed on several grounds, including the ground that, having accepted Steven Baker's account of the incident, which was supported by other witnesses, the tribunal should not have found Baker guilty or suspended him," St Kilda said in a statement.

In an unusual move, the tribunal jury said it accepted Baker's evidence, with the player saying he was running in front of Fremantle opponent Jeff Farmer, before stopping and propping.

That caused Farmer to run into the back of Baker.

But the three-man jury still found Baker had engaged in rough conduct, acting recklessly and that he made high contact to Farmer with high impact.

Baker's previous poor record at the tribunal increased the severity of his penalty, without which he would have received a four match ban.

It is the heaviest AFL suspension since Carlton star Greg Williams received nine matches a decade ago for pushing an umpire.

Meanwhile, McGuire said it was "nonsensical" that there was no capacity at every AFL game for full video coverage.

On Thursday, Saints coach Ross Lyon said the coaches' association was trying to encourage a system where each game would feature down-the-ground coverage.

Clubs could use the footage for match planning and Lyon said it could also be used for tribunal evidence.

The AFL has reservations about the quality of the footage and the cost of the exercise, but McGuire said it should happen.

"I read with interest that it costs hundreds of thousands - go down to Ted's Camera Store and get a couple of cameras and you can set them up and it should be there," he said.

"It's nonsensical to think we haven't got patrol film.

"They can argue the cost and all the rest of it, I just don't wear it.

"It can be done, it should be done and it can be offered to the clubs because they want behind-the-goal shots anyway."

McGuire, the former Channel Nine chief executive, stressed he was not criticising current broadcast rights holders Seven, Ten and Foxtel.

"I also say that it's not Seven, Ten or Foxtel's fault, they are there to cover the game for a television audience so I think we have to look at it," he said.

"Maybe I'm being a bit naive on it but I don't think it's that hard a thing to do to put cameras in places to be able to get those shots."

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