K rock Football

McMahon beats ban

Newtown & Chilwell captain Matt McMahon. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

NEWTOWN & Chilwell captain Matt McMahon says he feels for St Mary’s star Harry Benson after being found not guilty of a collision that left the reigning Mathieson medalist with a broken jaw in three places.

In a hearing that lasted more than 90 minutes, the AFL Barwon’s independent tribunal found McMahon had no case to answer.

“I’m relieved, but it’s a funny feeling because I feel terrible for the way Harry is right now,” the three-time Mathieson medalist told krockfootball.com.au following the hearing.

“Knowing that it was not intentional at all, I’m just happy the tribunal was able to see that as well.”

The Match Review Panel cited McMahon, who revealed he had reached out to Benson, for engaging in rough conduct after viewing the incident from the opening 90 seconds of Saturday’s clash at Elderslie Reserve.

He was offered a two-match set penalty, which he elected to challenge.

AFL Barwon advocate Arthur Hodgson told the tribunal panel of Werner Weigl (chair), Rebecca Kerwan and Paul Evans that the MRP considered a range of questions when viewing the vision, which didn’t show the point of contact between McMahon and Benson.

He said the MRP believed every player at the centre bounce had eyes for the ball except McMahon.

“Matt McMahon’s objective was to block Harry Benson for Ned Harris to run onto the football,” he argued.

However, Hodgson said the MRP couldn’t be sure whether it was McMahon’s head or shoulder that made contact with Benson.

McMahon, who had never previously been reported in a decorated 231-game career, told the tribunal a push from Saint Max Augerinos placed him in the path of Benson.

“Max was following me, and I could feel him push me,” he said

“I didn’t know he was there until we collided.

“There was no attempt to bump Harry whatsoever.”

Augerinos, who won the ball at that contest, gave evidence via phone, and when asked if he had contributed to McMahon’s movement into Benson, he said “no”.

“I was just in a feel position … I just held him off,” he said.

“He was going straight forward; I didn’t need to push him.”

Benson didn’t appear at the hearing, with his advocate Damian McKeegan telling the tribunal the midfielder has no recollection of the incident.

As well as having plates inserted to stabilise the fractures, Benson has had two teeth removed and will be eating pureed food for six weeks.

His chances of playing again this season appear remote, with McKeegan revealing Benson is allowed no contact to the jaw for 8-10 weeks.

After more than an hour of evidence, the panel deliberated on the verdict for 25 minutes.

In delivering the finding, Weigl said, “the tribunal is of the view it is inconclusive whether he (McMahon) intended to block or bump”.

Twitter: @tom_king79