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Bye-bye Brownlow: Cats accept Dangerfield ban

Football

Reigning AFL Brownlow Medallist Patrick Dangerfield has accepted his one-match suspension, making him ineligible for this year’s award.

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The Geelong star would have risked a two-game ban had he challenged his rough conduct charge at the tribunal and lost.

The former Crow was the favourite to win the medal again and his suspension means Richmond midfielder Dustin Martin heads the betting.

Dangerfield will miss Friday night’s crucial game against the Sydney Swans at Simonds Stadium, but will now be available to play fellow top-four aspirants Richmond the following week.

But the talking point will be the fact the heretofore raging Brownlow favourite will not be eligible to win football’s most prestigious individual accolade.

He was offered a one-match ban by the Match Review Panel yesterday for rough conduct on Carlton’s Matthew Kreuzer, with a tackle that left the ruckman concussed assessed as careless conduct with medium impact to the head.

The initial two-match suspension will be downgraded to one with today’s guilty plea, but most pundits expected Geelong to appeal.

“After seeking independent advice, the club has decided to accept the penalty handed down to Pat by the match review panel,” said general manager of football Steve Hocking in a statement.

“The club reviewed all possibilities around the case in coming to this decision.

“We respect the fact that the match review panel has a challenging and difficult role and has to operate under high scrutiny.

“While there has been a lot of debate around Pat’s eligibility for the Brownlow Medal, Pat and the club have at all times remained focussed on what is best for the team as we head towards to last part of the season.”

MRP member and former Geelong teammate Jimmy Bartel said this morning Dangerfield’s conduct was careless.

“That was probably the discussion the MRP had yesterday; was it a careless act and unreasonable?” Bartel told radio station RSN927.

“As soon as they decided, well, maybe Danger had a duty of care and could have done a little bit better, then it comes onto the table.

“I think we all agreed, it wasn’t intentional. It was a careless act.”

The Cats were at pains not to disrupt their preparations for the Swans clash, with coach Chris Scott telling  Fox Footy’s AFL360 last night: “We’d prefer it not to drag on and become a huge issue and take our focus off the game against Sydney, which is obviously a big one.”

Scott admitted his initial thought was to go in to bat for his superstar.

“That’s our instinct but we do have a duty to the team,” Scott said.

“We’ve got big games coming up towards the end of the season… we play two teams in contention for the top four.”

Dangerfield, who has enjoyed another stellar season, said yesterday chasing a second Brownlow was not part of his thinking.

“We’ll make a decision that’s best for the team, not the individual, and what’s best for the rest of our season,” Dangerfield told reporters last night.

“(The Brownlow Medal) is the last thing on my mind.”

 

AFL PLAYERS TO MISS OUT ON THE BROWNLOW MEDAL BECAUSE OF SUSPENSION

RECENT BROWNLOW MEDALS WHERE INELIGIBLE PLAYERS HAVE GONE CLOSE

AND THE CURIOUS CASE OF CHRIS JUDD…

Carlton star Chris Judd won his second Brownlow in 2010. In round 13, he had thrown his elbow back and collected Fremantle’s Matthew Pavlich across the cheek, drawing blood. But the match review panel did not charge him. When asked about the incident on stage after receiving the medal, Judd smiled and said: “Yeah, I was probably a bit lucky”.

The Brownlow is awarded to the AFL’s best and fairest player, as voted by the umpires. A player who is guilty of an offence deemed worthy of a suspension becomes ineligible. New Brownlow favourite Dustin Martin has been fined twice this season – if he is fined again, he will be suspended and that will make him ineligible.

-AAP

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