Naitanui sidelined as rough tackle ban upheld by AFL tribunal

West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui will miss Saturday's away clash with Greater Western Sydney after the Eagles unsuccessfully challenged his one-game suspension for rough conduct.

The Eagles took the case to the tribunal after the AFL's match review panel deemed Naitanui's tackle on Port Adelaide's Karl Amon at the weekend to be careless, with high contact and medium impact to the head.

A medical report from the Power revealing Amon suffered a delayed concussion was also considered in the ruling.

External Link: West Coast Eagles tweet: Vision of Naitanui's tackle on Amon. Nic has been offered a one-match suspension.

At a tribunal hearing, West Coast's lawyer David Grace argued Naitanui did not act carelessly, and said even if the tribunal believed that he did, it should still consider the outcome of the tackle to be of low impact.

"Our case is that it was a reasonable tackle and it is for the AFL to prove that the tackle was unreasonable," Mr Grace said.

"We also believe that the grade should be low impact, not medium."

The Eagles also argued Amon's concussion could have been caused by one of a number of earlier incidents, including a collision with West Coast defender Jackson Nelson which saw the Port player hit his head on the ground.

The AFL's counsel Jeff Gleeson questioned Naitanui over whether he could have minimised the impact of the tackle, to which the ruckman said he felt he had tried his best to do so.

"I was attempting to roll and to move my body weight to the side, not into him," Naitanui said.

"I don't believe I used excessive force. I did as much as I could have done to make sure he didn't get injured."

But the tribunal disagreed, and said Naitanui had other more reasonable courses of action, including rolling Amon in the tackle or dropping to his knees to halt his momentum.

The tribunal also said Naitanui had a duty of care to consider the size and weight difference between himself and Amon.

'It was just a tackle': Naitanui

After the hearing, Naitanui said he was dumbfounded by the tribunal's ruling.

"If I was seeking to go out and hurt someone … I wouldn't be as disappointed," he said.

"But because it was just an act that I'd done for the past 10 years of my career, I was left a little bit dumfounded to a degree."

The 28-year-old said the ruling would not influence his approach to the game.

"I don't think I need to change anything," Naitanui said.

"There was no malice in it, no aggression.

"It was just a tackle I guess, and that's part of our game. It's been part of our game since day one."

No extra penalty for ruckman

By contesting the charge, the Eagles did not risk losing Naitanui for any extra games, with his ban to remain at one match.

The incident has divided the AFL community, with some suggesting Naitanui had little alternative but to lay a strong tackle.

Critics have even suggesting the act of tackling has been put on trial, saying the former All-Australian ruckman's suspension could set a dangerous precedent.

Many felt the size differential between the players worked against Naitanui, who weighs more than 30 kilograms more than Amon.

His absence this weekend will be a loss for the Eagles, who have been the surprise packets of 2018 and will be aiming to consolidate their top-two position with a seventh straight victory when they face the Giants in Sydney.

Original Article


ABC .net


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