AAP image/Joel Carrett
Hawthorn captain James Sicily and Richmond’s Rhyan Mansell will appeal their respective three-match AFL suspensions over incidents that left opponents concussed.
Amid uproar over the league’s ongoing crackdown on dangerous tackles, rugged defender Sicily was banned for the tackle that knocked out Brisbane Lions midfielder Hugh McCluggage.
The match review officer’s initial grading of careless conduct, severe impact and high contact was upheld by the tribunal on Tuesday night.
Sicily argued his conduct wasn’t careless, claiming he’d targeted McCluggage’s hips and that he was following the league’s advice to try to have his opponent land on top of him to soften his fall.
Sicily said contact from Hawks teammate Tyler Brockman on McCluggage during the incident prevented the Lions midfielder from being able to brace himself with his free arm.
The tribunal did not accept Brockman’s involvement caused an otherwise safe tackle to be dangerous.
Former Hawthorn and Brisbane champion Luke Hodge led a chorus of past players in the media arguing the tribunal “got it wrong”.
“As soon as there’s a third person (Brockman) that comes into play in the tackle, you can’t throw the book at this,” Hodge told SEN on Wednesday.
“You look at (Nathan) Broad from Richmond, who did the big dump tackle and knocked a kid (Adelaide’s Patrick Parnell) out on the boundary line, he got four weeks and Sicily got three for this.
“It just doesn’t seem right in my mind.”
Late on Wednesday, both Hawthorn and Richmond confirmed they will appeal their players’ bans.
Mansell was charged with rough conduct over the high bump that concussed Fremantle’s James Aish.
It was graded as careless conduct, severe impact and high contact.
The Dockers fear Aish could miss more than one match after he was placed into concussion protocols following the incident.
Mansell pleaded not guilty at the tribunal on Tuesday night, arguing he thought he could win the ball.
He said if he kept running straight on, he would have opened up both himself and Aish up for injury.
“As a (past) player I feel for him because he did the right thing and because of the bounce of an oval ball, it made him hesitate,” Hodge said of Mansell.
“I’m sitting here going is three weeks fair for that? That’s probably a bit harsh in my books.”
Melbourne defender Christian Salem accepted a $3000 penalty for striking Collingwood’s Harvey Harrison.
On Tuesday, St Kilda forward Dan Butler successfully overturned a one-match ban for rough conduct on Sydney’s Nick Blakey.
Butler is free to play his former club Richmond on Saturday night.