Follow all three cases as they progress throughout the evening...
Case 1: Close loses fight against dangerous tackle suspension
Geelong and player Brad Close have failed in their attempt to clear the forward's one-game suspension for rough conduct.
Close was sanctioned with a one-game suspension for his tackle on Crow Jordan Dawson during Saturday's match at GMHBA Stadium.
Close had pleaded not guilty to the dangerous tackle and/or looked to have the grading of medium impact downgraded to low if the jury found him guilty of the charge.
Geelong failed in their challenge to overturn or lower the charge, with Close's suspension standing.
The outcome means Close won't be free to play in his side's Round 9 clash with Richmond at the MCG on Friday night.
Brad Close has been handed a one-match suspension for this tackle on Jordan Dawson. pic.twitter.com/wEZpXj9sZw
— AFL (@AFL) May 7, 2023
Case 2: Demon van Rooyen fails challenge of two-game striking ban
The AFL Tribunal has upheld the charge of a two-game suspension, with the level of impact remaining as high.
Summary of the verdict:
"(van Rooyen) said that he looked up and watch the ball as he ran to the contest. A few steps before arriving at the contest, he took his eyes off the ball and looked at or in the immediate direction or Ballard, who was shaping to mark the ball.
"We are not critical of van Rooyen for doing this, it was reasonable for him to look at Ballard and the drop of the ball and assess the situation.
"We find that his objective at the moment of, and shortly prior to impact, was to spoil the mark. However, we also find that a reasonable player would have foreseen that in spoiling in the way he did would almost inevitably have resulted in a forceful blow to Ballard's head.
"He launched and extended his arm out and across Ballard's head.
"In those circumstances, and in light of the instructions given to the panel about the interpretation and application of law 18.5 of the Laws of the Game. This was not permitted incidental contact.
"We find that Mr van Rooyen was careless and that he committed a reportable offence of striking by a forceful blow to the head. The force of the blow was considerable. It caused immediate pain to Mr Ballard, who expressed concern about his neck, he was stretchered off and assessed for cervical spine injury. Thankfully, there was none.
"But the potential for it was real, as evidenced by the nature of the impact, the complaint by the law and the medical investigation. He suffered residual neck pain and stiffness.
"We assess the impact as high."
- Chair Jeff Gleeson.
The van Rooyen hearing is underway, with the Demons pleading not guilty, in that the incident wasn't a careless strike but a legitimate attempt to spoil.
Or, in the case it is seen as a reportable offence that the impact was medium, not high. That would see van Rooyen's suspension lowered to one game.
After being brought to stand, van Rooyen stated: "I was in the vicinity to affect the aerial contest. I was looking at the ball a lot and my sole objective was to spoil the ball."
Footage of the incident was broken down by several frames at a time under the instruction of Adrian Anderson (Melb rep.) as van Rooyen details his thinking at the time. van Rooyen confirms his sight switches between the flight of the ball and the "landing zone" or "drop zone"
Anderson: "There's less than 0.8 of a second between JVR looking at the ball when his gaze shifts to the landing zone and he makes contact."
van Rooyen has stated he wasn't solely focused on Ballard when looking at ther drop zone, but just the zone generally.
van Rooyen: "I didn't think I was going to make contact with Ballard's head. I was just trying to spoil the ball... it didn't even cross my mind. I think I did a good job."
AFL counsel Andrew Woods: "The definition (of a strike) says with hand, arm or elbow... This was a strike, per the guidelines.
"Because of the player's speed and position of his arm, JVR delivers a forceful blow to Ballard."
"There's potential there for more serious injury to Ballard given the momentum and the method in which the impact is made.
"...It was careless and breached the duty of care."
Anderson: "If a player can make a legitimate, realistic, genuine spoil, they are entitled under the rules of the game to do so."
Anderson's argument is broken down to six points:
Point 1: van Rooyen makes contact with the ball, if he doesn't he's within millimetres. His hand was exactly where it was intended to be.
Point 2: (JVR) looked at the ball and the drop zone as you'd expect. It wasn't a case where he didn't look also at where the ball was falling.
Point 3: (JVR) made a direct line with the ball and had to be going at pace and didn't have much time. It was the only way he could make the spoil. It was a spoiling motion.
Point 4: The contact that's made with Ballard is incidental with his bicep. It's not where or how you'd expect to strike someone.
Point 5: There was no remonstration from Suns players for what van Rooyen had done.
Point 6: There was no realistic football option for Mr van Rooyen in this situation.
The jury began deliberating at 7:06pm (AEST).
The jury found van Rooyen
Jacob Van Rooyen has been handed a two-match suspension for this incident. pic.twitter.com/fdpH2HyUnj
— AFL (@AFL) May 7, 2023
Note: Ballard was not concussed as a result of the incident.
Case 3: Newman striking charge cleared
Neale featured in the Tribunal hearing via a phone call. Neale admitted the initial blow from Newman placed him off balance before the higher contact was made.
The jury was not satisfied high contact was made, forcing the verdict to remove the charge altogether.
The Tribunal Jury decided to clear the charge against Newman, freeing the backman to play after initially receiving a one-game suspension.
Nic Newman has received a one-match suspension for striking Lachie Neale. pic.twitter.com/XSg464KAmb
— AFL (@AFL) May 6, 2023