MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 10: Jaidyn Stephenson of Collingwood marks the ball during a Collingwood Magpies AFL training session at The Holden Centre on April 10, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Hawthorn President Jeff Kennett has whacked the Jaidyn Stephenson loophole that allows the banned-Magpie to return via the VFL this weekend, a day after serving his 10-match ban.

Collingwood exposed the league with the idea and it was approved, with many media identities stating that Stephenson was banned until first week of finals – and that’s when we should see him first play in a match.

Stephenson was handed a 10-match sanction for gambling on his own team in June, following the Round 13 clash.

Kennett said the ruling in the build to the finals gives Collingwood an “unfair advantage”, and states that its typical of the AFL.

“It’s disturbing,” Kennett told the Herald Sun.

“Once a penalty is applied it should in fact be executed. What is happening here is that the AFL is showing yet again that it is not 100 per cent committed to good governance.

“It is prepared to move the goal posts to suit individual circumstances.

“That is incorrect because you are either penalised, and the penalty sticks, or you don’t impose a penalty in the first place.

“It gives Collingwood an advantage, which is unfair, but this is just typical of the AFL.”

The AFL has stood by its decision to allow Stephenson to play state-level against Box Hill Hawks on Saturday afternoon.

“The AFL suspended Collingwood’s Jaidyn Stephenson for 22 matches, with 12 matches suspended, and fined him $20,000 for breaching the AFL’s rules related to betting on AFL matches, the largest suspension ever handed down for a betting related incident,” the AFL said in a statement.

“The suspensions handed down by the MRO and AFL tribunal for on-field incidents are for weeks/rounds of football.

“Suspensions imposed or signed off by the AFL for off-field related issues aren’t governed by the AFL MRO/Tribunal protocols.

“In this instance, Stephenson’s suspension is for AFL matches, so at the conclusion of Collingwood’s Round 23 match, Stephenson’s 10-match suspension is completed.”

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said it was a “small win” when they discovered that the young forward would be available for selection.

What else worked in their favour, the Round 23 floating fixture was finalised last month, giving the Magpies the Friday Night clash against Essendon. This worked for Stephenson who can brush off some cobwebs in the reserves as he prepares for week one of finals.

If the Magpies were schedule to play on Saturday/Sunday then the 20-year-old would be ineligible, but Buckley couldn’t be happier with the result.

“The way that we understand it was 10 AFL games (not 10 weeks) and if we were scheduled to play on Saturday Night, it would not have happened so (we) checked that with the AFL,” Buckley said.

“For Jaiydn to be able to play with our VFL side this weekend, it’s a small win.

“It’s not AFL level, but it gives him a chance to run around in a match scenario and take that next step.”

The Magpies VFL side play Saturday, 2pm at Box Hill City Oval.