Fremantle midfielder Nat Fyfe remains the frontrunner to win this year’s Brownlow Medal after escaping suspension over his “brain fade” tripping charge.
Fyfe’s Brownlow hopes hung in the balance after he was reported for tripping Koby Stevens in Sunday’s 13-point win over the Western Bulldogs.
The incident occurred when Fyfe threw out his legs as he fell to ground in a bid to stop Stevens getting past him.
After the game, Fyfe admitted it was a bit of a brain fade moment.
Most current and former players believed the incident wasn’t worth a suspension.
And the revamped match review panel agreed, handing Fyfe a $1000 fine on Monday in a result that keeps the star Docker eligible to win the Brownlow.
North Melbourne spearhead Jarrad Waite also escaped suspension, with the 32-year-old offered a $1000 fine for his late hit on Essendon’s Zach Merrett in a marking contest.
GWS forward Devon Smith was another player fined $1000 after being charged with engaging in rough conduct against Carlton’s Bryce Gibbs.
Geelong’s Steve Johnson was cleared of his bizarre strike to the groin of Sydney’s Jarrad McVeigh, with the MRP saying the star Cat was merely trying to win best position to compete for the ball.
West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui was among the players happy to see Fyfe escape suspension.
“To go for something like that would not make too much sense,” Naitanui said.
“I think mine was pretty similar to his – someone tried to run around me and I stupidly stuck my leg out.
“You don’t want to get stepped in a game. You know you’re going to be in the vision on the Monday morning with a guy running around you.
“So I think it’s just instinct to try and stop that guy getting past you. Sticking whatever body part you can to stop that guy is what you just do instinctively.”
The MRP classified the incident as intentional conduct with low impact to the body.
Under last year’s MRP points system, Fyfe would have been suspended over the tripping incident given he had 76.25 carryover points hanging over his head.
Fyfe’s chances of winning last year’s Brownlow were scuppered by two suspensions.
But he is the hottest of favourites to win the prodigious award this year following his hot start to the season.
Fyfe is averaging 30 possessions and 7.5 clearances per game this season, while he has also kicked 9.8 to help Fremantle soar two wins clear on top of the table.