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Cats in the doghouse as Pies tackle perfect storm

Football

Geelong’s season is unravelling amid a spate of injury and suspensions, with star forward Tom Hawkins accepting a two-match AFL ban for striking Sydney’s Dane Rampe.

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The Cats spearhead will miss matches against Richmond and Collingwood after he fell foul of the match review panel for a jumper punch for the second time this season.

“It was a disappointing (act),” Cats football chief Steve Hocking told Fox Footy’s AFL360.

“Tom is as disappointed as anyone and we’ve worked through that with him.

“He’s very remorseful as you would expect, but it’s pretty clear in this current environment that you just can’t do that.

“He’s clearly upset by the fact that he’s let his teammates and his club down.”

Hawkins served a one-match suspension for a jumper punch on Adelaide’s Matt Crouch earlier this season and had his penalty increased from one to two games due to a bad record.

He risked a three-match suspension with an unsuccessful visit to the tribunal.

As the Cats prepare to face the in-form Tigers, midfielder Mitch Duncan has also accepted a one-week sanction for striking the Swans’ Tom Papley.

Duncan’s indiscretion saw Papley awarded a free kick in front of goal at a critical time in the last quarter of the Cats’ loss to Sydney at Simonds Stadium.

The duo’s disciplinary issues couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Cats, who will be without skipper Joel Selwood until at least the end of the home-and-away season.

Selwood underwent surgery on a syndesmosis ankle injury yesterday afternoon and is fighting to be fit to return for the finals.

“Everything went according to plan, which is really pleasing,” Hocking said of Selwood’s operation.

“From here it’s all about progression now. People probably want timelines, but the expectation with the surgery is that he’ll be back training in three weeks.

“From there he’ll do everything in his powers to recover.

“He’s shown throughout his career that he does recover really well.”

In other MRP news, Collingwood’s Brodie Grundy has accepted a two-match AFL ban for the tackle that left North Melbourne forward Ben Brown with concussion.

Grundy’s so-called perfect tackle has ignited a perfect AFL storm.

Collingwood will be without their starting ruckman for their crunch match at Adelaide Oval against a Port Adelaide outfit desperate to atone for its Showdown failure.

Hawthorn star Shaun Burgoyne, the AFL’s most experienced current player, has backed the way Grundy tackled Brown.

But the moment Brown’s head hit the Etihad Stadium turf and he was knocked out, under AFL rules Grundy was always in trouble.

Brown himself also said yesterday he felt bad for Grundy.

“That’s exactly how we’re taught to tackle – I thought it was a good tackle,” Burgoyne said.

The 338-game utility said a lot of things go through a player’s head when he tackles an opponent, with the focus on trying to win a holding-the-ball free kick.

“You obviously don’t want concussions in the game and you want to protect the head, but we play a contact sport where you have to tackle and we go to ground,” Burgoyne said.

“We play a collision sport, so there are going to be accidents as well.”

Burgoyne said it was obviously a different matter if a player clearly was trying to hurt an opponent in a tackle.

Brown definitely did not think that was the case with Grundy, saying the Magpies ruckman had sent him a text.

“I kind of feel bad for him as well because these kind of decisions are really split-second ones in games, so I hope he’s feeling all right as well,” Brown said.

“I’ve looked back at it and it didn’t look like Brodie was trying to hurt me in any way.”

After Saturday night’s game, Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley defended Grundy and said it was the perfect tackle.

North coach Brad Scott shook his head and laughed when told of Buckley’s comment.

It comes a week after Geelong star Patrick Dangerfield accepted a one-game ban for rough conduct, also for a tackle that knocked out Carlton ruckman Matthew Kreuzer.

The ban meant Dangerfield is ineligible for this season’s Brownlow Medal.

Meanwhile, Greater Western Sydney ruckman Shane Mumford has accepted a one-match suspension for rough conduct on Melbourne counterpart Max Gawn and Essendon’s Zach Merrett will sit out the Bombers’ crucial clash with the Crows on Saturday night, for striking Carlton’s Lachie Plowman.

 

-AAP 

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