Bedford fronted the Board on Thursday afternoon - three days after the AFL Tribunal upheld the Match Review Officer's suspension for rough conduct against the Giants player from Round 24 of the home and away season. Bedford's actions were graded as careless conduct, medium impact and high contact by the MRO.
The charge was cited following an incident on Carlton's Zac Fisher, who made an appearance in the Tribunal hearing on Monday afternoon.
Despite evidence from both Fisher and a biomechanist, Bedford and the Giants were unable to clear the small forward for his side's elimination final against St Kilda for this Saturday.
The Tribunal's outcome was then challenged by GWS, who stated at Thursday's Appeal Board hearing that no Tribunal acting reasonably could have come to the decision that Bedford made "forceful" high contact on Fisher, who told the Tribunal he did not feel contact above his shoulder.
The Giants noted further that the Tribunal did not properly acknowledge the evidence provided by Fisher or the biomechanist.
Further arguments made by the Giants focussed on the difficulty of reaching an accurate verdict of the level of impact based on the video evidence provided.
The Appeal Board reached a decision to overturn Bedford's suspension after analysing the findings from the Tribunal. The verdict means Bedford is available to play in Saturday's elimination final against St Kilda at the MCG.
Footage by the Giants' social team captured Bedford's reaction to the verdict, with the forward letting out a "f**k yes!" and getting out of his seat after learning he was free to play.
— GWS GIANTS (@GWSGIANTS) September 7, 2023
Appeal Board Chair Murray Kellam provided the following reasoning for the verdict (via David Zita):
"We recognise in coming to this conclusion that the Tribunal faced the most difficult case in all circumstances and for that reason we propose to hand down written reasons in the near future.
"In essence, we accept the submissions made by Ihle (Giants) on behalf of Bedford relating to the evidence or the lack of evidence that was before the Tribunal.
"We accept it was open to the Tribunal to find that there was contact by the body of Bedford with Fisher's head, however in our view neither the evidence nor the reasons expressed by the Tribunal in respect of such evidence is sufficient to establish that such contact was “forceful” as required by the AFL regulations.
"Accordingly, we set aside the decision of the Tribunal."