AFL drops Penny charge, hits Thomas - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL drops Penny charge, hits Thomas

By Adam Cooper 08/07/2004 09:03:48 PM Comments (0)

Defender Luke Penny has become the first St Kilda player cleared of a report this AFL season while his coach Grant Thomas was slugged $5,000 for criticising the tribunal.

The AFL appeals board quashed Penny's two-game suspension for engaging in rough play against Port Adelaide's Gavin Wanganeen as the backman faced "an agony of the moment decision" over trying to avoid making contact with the Power star.

Previously, all 11 St Kilda players to have been reported in 2004 had been found guilty, but Penny is now free to play Sunday's game against Melbourne at the MCG, where the Saints will try to snap their mid-season slump.

The Saints will also receive half the $15,000 it lodged to have the case re-heard.

But that joy was short-lived as Thomas was fined for saying he was "disillusioned", "gun-shy" and "confused" with the tribunal after it suspended Penny and teammates Fraser Gehrig and Brent Guerra on Tuesday night.

Thomas is the second coach to be fined this week for criticising the judiciary, after Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse was docked $5,000 and given a suspended sentence for questioning Chris Tarrant's round 11 suspension.

AFL football operations general manager Adrian Anderson said Thomas had been penalised for a "clear breach of the rules regarding tribunal comment".

"The AFL has already announced that it is reviewing the operation of the tribunal and continues to invite clubs and coaches to make their contribution directly to the AFL," he said.

The league, which will conduct a review of the tribunal at the end of the season, has asked Thomas to explain his comments.

Penny's suspension was overturned after reporting umpire Justin Schmitt conceded the Saint had little chance of avoiding contact with Wanganeen during the second quarter of Sunday's game in Launceston.

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