Melbourne coach Paul Roos has promised his AFL club will vigorously defend Jack Viney in Tuesday’s tribunal hearing.
Viney was referred directly to the tribunal for his bump that left Adelaide forward Tom Lynch nursing a broken jaw.
Lynch was sandwiched between Viney and Alex Georgiou in the incident on Saturday, which the match review panel opted against grading.
Roos confirmed on Fox Footy that Viney would be pleading not guilty to the rough conduct charge.
“Given it’s a tribunal matter I don’t think I can say anything, but we’ll defend it vigorously,” Roos said.
“We’ve had a really good look at it.
“We believe Jack is actually bracing for contact because there’s two guys coming the other way.”
Richmond playmaker Brett Deledio and Geelong’s Mathew Stokes can both accept one-match bans for striking with early pleas, but it was the panel’s ruling on Viney that triggered all the outrage on Monday.
Matthew Lloyd and Dermott Brereton made public pleas for the tribunal to clear Viney.
“I hope he gets off for the sake of the game,” Essendon great Lloyd told radio station 3AW.
“If he didn’t brace like he did, he would have knocked himself out.
“He would have left himself that open … it would have been like ten-pin bowling, all the heads would have smashed into each other.”
Former Hawthorn and Gold Coast enforcer Campbell Brown called the panel’s verdict a “joke” on Twitter, while Brian Taylor went one further.
“An absolute joke,” 1986 Coleman medallist Taylor said on 3AW.
“He had no momentum going towards that bump at all, it was all coming his way. It was like a car hitting a concrete wall.”
Brereton suggested it could be a landmark case because Viney’s intent was not to bump, rather to brace for impact.
“We have to find him not guilty,” the five-time premiership winner said on radio station SEN.
“If we do (find him guilty) what we’re now saying is we don’t want any injuries, regardless of the scenario.
“We’re going to tailor our sport so we don’t get injuries, and that’s not what our sport is about.”
Deledio and Stokes were charged for their part in a heated second-quarter scuffle between the Tigers and Cats on Sunday.
Both are likely to take one-match bans.
Fremantle midfielder David Mundy (rough conduct) and Brisbane forward Luke McGuane (striking) were also charged by the panel, but can both walk away with reprimands should they log an early plea.
North Melbourne forward Lindsay Thomas, reported for striking Gold Coast’s Danny Stanley on Sunday, was cleared by the panel.
Make your contribution to independent news
A donation of any size to InDaily goes directly to helping our journalists uncover the facts. South Australia needs more than one voice to guide it forward, and we’d truly appreciate your contribution. Please click below to donate to InDaily.