Brownlow favourite Nathan Fyfe will head to the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday night to keep his medal hopes alive after being handed a one-match suspension for striking.
Any suspension ends his chances of again winning the AFL’s highest individual honour unless he successfully challenges the decision.
The Fremantle captain caught Collingwood midfielder Levi Greenwood in the head in a collision during the Magpies’ 61-point victory at the MCG on Sunday.
The incident was judged as intentional, with low impact but high contact, a ruling that comes with a one-match suspension.
A medical report from the Collingwood Football Club was also considered in the decision.
The 26-year-old Fyfe could escape with a fine if his representatives can successfully argue the incident was careless, rather than intentional.
Greenwood appeared untroubled despite receiving the hit and played out the rest of the match.
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“A raised forearm or elbow is usually conclusive that it is intentional,” match review officer Michael Christian said on Monday.
“The ball goes over Nat’s head. He runs at Greenwood and jumps off the ground and raises his forearm and makes forceful contact to Levi’s head.
“Weighing up all the guidelines and rules around intentionality versus careless, based on that overriding principle that a raised forearm is usually conclusive [and] that a strike is intentional was how we graded it.”
Fyfe won the 2016 Brownlow Medal and has made a bright start to the 2018 season, averaging 30.5 disposals per match.
The Dockers have struggled, though, winning just four of their first 11 matches.
Bookmaker Sportsbet reacted quickly, installing Hawthorn midfielder Tom Mitchell as a $3.25 favourite to win this year’s Brownlow Medal.
Mitchell finished third in last year’s count.
Richmond’s Dustin Martin, the 2017 winner, came into $5.50, with Western Bulldogs midfielder Jackson Macrae ($8) and Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn ($12) also given a good chance of winning the prestigious award.
Fremantle plays Adelaide at Optus Stadium on Sunday.
Two-week ban for Kangaroo
In other decisions announced on Monday, North Melbourne’s Jy Simpkin was offered a two-match suspension for engaging in rough conduct against Brisbane’s Allen Christensen.
Christensen did not return to the field after the incident and there is no reduction in the sentence’s severity if Simpkin enters a guilty plea.
There were also two fines handed out for staging, with Sydney’s Callum Sinclair offered a $1000 sanction for “falling to the ground after being pushed lightly by Carlton midfielder Patrick Cripps”.
Star Richmond defender Alex Rance was hit with the same fine for what the AFL described as diving “forward in an exaggerated fashion after receiving a light push in the back from Essendon forward Shaun McKernan”.
A further eight players were fined for offences ranging from reckless umpire contact and tripping to low-level striking.