Adelaide argued vehemently that Richard Douglas was not responsible for Callan Ward’s concussion, but the AFL tribunal took a different view and gave the midfielder a two-game ban.
The merits of the bump were thrown into further doubt on Tuesday night, with Douglas’ hit on the Greater Western Sydney co-captain deemed to be reckless, high contact and high impact.
That would ordinarily result in a four-match suspension (425 demerit points), which could have been reduced to two weeks on account of Douglas’ good record and a guilty plea.
The case had been referred directly to the tribunal, who agreed a penalty of 250 demerit points (two weeks) was just.
I’ll just cop what happened
Douglas will in effect miss three weeks of football, with the Crows’ bye coming in round eight after clashes with Western Bulldogs and Melbourne.
The 27-year-old will not play again until Adelaide host Collingwood on May 15.
“I’m disappointed with the way it worked out … but I’ll just cop what happened,” Douglas said after the hearing.
Douglas earlier gave evidence he was “categorically” certain he did not make contact with Ward’s head, and that it was instead a clash of shoulders.
“You know what you feel. No part of my body touched his face,” Douglas said.
“I’m not sure how he didn’t see me coming. I’m still staggered he didn’t brace.”
I’m not sure how he didn’t see me coming. I’m still staggered he didn’t brace
Player advocate Iain Findlay attempted to press home this point, saying Ward’s actions immediately after the bump were that of somebody winded not concussed.
“He was on his knees. You see he spits the mouth guard out,” Findlay said.
AFL legal counsel Jeff Gleeson successfully argued Douglas was responsible for Ward’s concussion – be it from a clash of heads, as emergency umpire Curtis DeBoy alleged, or his head hitting the turf.
Douglas pled guilty to the charge of rough conduct at the start of proceedings, prior to the debate over whether he made contact with the head or body of Ward.
Earlier on Tuesday, the match review panel cleared Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge and Geelong star Tom Hawkins over incidents in the Easter Monday match.
The panel laid no charges in relation to the game.
St Kilda veteran Adam Schneider, North Melbourne defender Scott Thompson, Fremantle goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne, West Coast captain Darren Glass and GWS on-baller Toby Greene all accepted one-match bans.