K rock Football

Dalton done for three

Inverleigh star Dalton Grundell arrives at the AFL Barwon Tribunal. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

INVERLEIGH’S decision to challenge the offer of a two-match suspension to Dalton Grundell for charging Winchelsea co-captain Alex Gubbins has backfired, with the Whitley Medal fancy banned for three weeks.

Grundell, who pleaded not guilty to the charge laid by umpire James Milligan during the second quarter of Saturday’s clash at Eastern Reserve, was unable to convince the three-member tribunal panel chaired by Amanda Evans his contact with the back of Gubbins was “unavoidable”.

He will miss games against Bannockburn, North Geelong and Werribee Centrals before being free to return for the Round 14 clash with Belmont Lions.

Coach Mark McDowell, who sat outside the hearing, was surprised at the result.

“What I saw in real time, and from the vision, was a player that was running at full tilt out from full-forward, eyes on the ball, and made every attempt to avoid contact, and didn’t see the opposition player and contact occurred,” he said.

“That’s what happens in a contact sport. How many times do you see a player collide with his own teammate, because he doesn’t see him.

“That’s my take on it. There was definitely contact, but I think he tried to avoid it and it was unavoidable contact.”

Milligan told the tribunal a quick kick from a stoppage went towards the Inverleigh forward 50 and was marked by Gubbins.

He said Grundell run from about 5-10m outside the goal square before making the contact with a hip-and-shoulder.

“I believe it was at quite a bit of pace,” Milligan said. “He turned his body and bumped into his back,” before adding that the Hawk left the ground when he made contact about half-a-second to one second after Gubbins marked the ball.

Milligan labelled the force a “seven out of 10”, a figure corroborated by Gubbins.

The star Blue told the tribunal he suffered “slight bit of whiplash” from the contact, but took his kick and played out the game with no issues.

When called to give evidence, Grundell told the tribunal “I saw the ball in the air, ran at it, and in the last couple of steps I saw Alex and just braced for contact”.

The reigning Hawks best-and-fairest admitted he had a duty of care, but said he was running at full pace and contact “was unavoidable at the time”.

However, after a brief deliberation, Grundell was found guilty before being handed the three-week ban.

Twitter: @tom_king79

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