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Bombers frustrated by Zaharakis ban

Football

John Worsfold has queried the AFL match review panel’s decision to suspend David Zaharakis but stopped short of criticising it.

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The Essendon coach was the big loser from the sanctions dished out from round 15, losing Zaharakis and ruckman Mark Jamar for this weekend’s match with St Kilda.

Zaharakis was issued with a one-week ban for a gut punch to West Coast opponent Jackson Nelson, while Jamar received a similar punishment for striking Jeremy McGovern.

Worsfold suggested the in-form midfielder was desperately unlucky to be the one plucked out for suspension for a relatively common act.

“There’s maybe been 16 or 18 of them this year. He’s not on his own,” he said.

“You go on track record and you see some that were so similar that have been fined.

“They’ve penalised him so now another 16 will go unpenalised or fined?

“They’ve assessed his as a bit more serious as the others so he’s got to wear that.”

Worsfold said the two-week ban, reduced to one week with a guilty plea, wouldn’t be worth argument at the tribunal.

“When you get one that they say is a little bit more severe than others it’s frustrating because it’s too risky to challenge it,” he said.

“Two weeks for that would seem well and truly over the top.”

The Bombers were also nonplussed by a decision to penalise Courtenay Dempsey for a fourth-quarter tackle on Andrew Gaff.

Dempsey met the already-airborne Gaff with force, slamming him into the ground.

All-time record tackler Jude Bolton called his action “perfect” on Twitter but acting umpires chief Luke Ball said Dempsey’s “accentuates the lift and then tips Gaff into a pretty vulnerable position”.

Worsfold disagreed and thought it looked a good tackle.

“I would debate it should have been a free kick,” he said.

“All the players are aware you can’t lift a player in the tackle. Our argument is he didn’t lift him. Gaff had jumped in the air.

“We have to now be aware of where the line is … that was a really grey one.”

In other penalties from the round, Port Adelaide trio Kane Mitchell, Jasper Pittard, Justin Westoff and Richmond leaders Jack Riewoldt and Trent Cotchin were served with fines wrestling or melee fines from their Friday night meeting.

Carlton utility Dale Thomas was also given a $1500 fine for engaging in rough conduct against Collingwood youngster James Aish.

-AAP

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