VERDICT: Geelong have been successful at the AFL Tribunal, with Patrick Dangerfield's one-game suspension cleared.

He will be available to face Essendon in Round 16.


"Dangerfield tackled Sam Walsh in the opening minutes of the game between Geelong and Carlton. Dangerfield pinned both of Walsh's arms, and the forward momentum of both players contributed to Walsh's head making forceful contact with the ground.

"Dangerfield conceded that he did not release either arm throughout the tackle, and that he could have done so. The pinned arms placed Walsh in a vulnerable position with little, if any, opportunity to protect himself from having his head hit the ground.

"It will be a rare, even exceptional case where a player who tackles with significant forward motion, who pins both arms and who could have but does not release one or both arms will not have engaged in rough conduct. This is such a case.

"Although not immediately apparent and not truly apparent to all angles of the vision and still shots that were carefully considered. The evidence is clear here that Dangerfield immediately swung his legs beside and forward of Walsh and pulled back with considerable force to attempt to prevent Walsh being driven into the ground.

"The vision shows that Dangerfield managed to pull him back so that at one point Walsh's torso was always vertical.

"Would it have been reasonable for Dangerfield to release one or both of Walsh's arms? Yes, it would. But that's not the test.

"The question is whether it was unreasonable in the circumstances to do so. Given the considerable care that Dangerfield went to in a short time in a fast-moving piece of play to do what he could to avoid or minimise injury to his fellow player, we find that this was not rough conduct."

Here's how the hearing unfolded...

7:56: The Jury has begun to deliberate. Verdict to come soon.

7:54: Woods: "The AFL doesn't seek a level of perfection (when tackling). But you have to execute it in a way that discharges a duty of care to your fellow player."

7:49: Ihle: "This is still a game where tackling is permitted, where tackling a player by pinning both arms is permitted.

"It's not enough to point to something else to ask what they could have done.

"Dangerfield was working and exerting effort to make sure Walsh went backwards, not forwards."

7:40: Ihle: "We see where his muscles are flexing, the direction in which he is exerting force. He made a deliberate and conscious decision to tackle in a particular way."

7:35: Ben Ihle (Geelong Counsel): "The standard of care here is one of reasonable care."

7:32: Woods: "Dangerfield didn't do enough to discharge the duty he owed Walsh, he left him in a very vulnerable position.

"He did have realistic alternatives, one was to let go of the left arm to break his fall. It was careless not to do so.

"The pinning of these arms, and the speed and manner in which Walsh was brought to the ground, was careless."

7:30: AFL Counsel Andrew Woods: "It's pretty obvious that if you have an opponent's arms pinned when driving them in a tackle they can't brace for contact with the ground. You owe an opponent a duty of care when tackling.

"That potential (for injury) was apparent."

7:20: Dangerfield has ended his period of cross-examinations.

7:19: Dangerfield: "I will argue all day with you that pinning (his arms) provided less impact (for Walsh on the ground). If I lose grip on the left hand, then I am unable to pull him back".

7:16: Dangerfield: "I was in control of the way he was being brought to the ground. Absolutely I was in control.

"The ball and his knees influenced how [Walsh] hit the ground. Had it not been for me holding both arms he might've made significant contact with the ground."

7:12: Dangerfield: "The reason I bring my knees down is that it's the only way I can pivot backwards with any power. With the speed we're both going, I can just pull him back with my body. I need my legs to help produce force."

7:07: Dangerfield: "I'm conscious of how we're treating concussion. How you approach the tackle, how you complete the tackle, and the duty of care for your opponent (are all considered)".

7:02: Dangerfield: "I have more control of his upper body by holding on with both arms, pulling back.

"I'm using all of my upper body. I'm using all of my legs. I'm using all of my core strength to pull back Sam."

6:57: Dangerfield: "It was the safest way to control the way he landed. I felt that was the safest way to execute the tackle without giving away a free kick."

"I'm pulling back both of his arms, the centre of gravity is lower, So I'm trying to keep him upright

"The facts are you don't tackle in this way unless you're conscious of what the landing mechanism is. If I wanted to bury him, I would drive through the tackle.

"This is the complete opposite of that."

6:55: Dangerfield: "My [left] hand slips down Sam's arm. Potentially because of sweat or oil.

"I can't control his landing if I'm directly behind him."

6:50: Dangerfield: "As soon as he sees I'm coming from that direction he changes direction. He the turns in the opposite direction in order to evade the tackle.

"I knew what I was going to do in terms of the way I wanted to tackle him. If I tackled him [below the shoulders] I knew I could bring him down.

"As soon as I'm able to get a decent hold, it's 'hold on as tight as you can'. You pull back, like you're pivoting from the hips.

"I lowered my centre of gravity, and pulled my chest and chin back to reduce what the impact might be on the ground."

6:47: Dangerfield: "My first thought is regathering the ball, it then turned from gathering the ball to laying a tackle. My first reaction is to tackle [Walsh], ping him and as you can see I pull him to ground.

"When I first grabbed him it was on the arms. I was trying to grab any part of his body within the rules of the game to stop his run.

"I knew I was tackling him from behind. I was conscious of not driving through Sam. Once I grabbed Sam and had a hold of both arms, I looked to pull him back and I tried to slide my legs underneath his to absorb the force. I pulled my chest and chin back to absorb that pressure."

6:44: Dangerfield: I handballed the ball to Mitch Duncan, who fumbled it and Walsh collected the ball before I tackled him. That is the only time in the game where you have absolute clarity, as you have no fatigue.

6:43: A medical report states Walsh was assessed on field but did not require ongoing treatment nor did he miss training in the following days.

Dangerfield will prove evidence.

6:39pm: Following some delay we are underway...

Dangerfield has pled not guilty to the charge of rough conduct. The Cats are arguing that Dangerfield acted reasonably in the circumstances.