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‘Choco’ Williams not enough to save Shiel at tribunal

The Bombers also argued exceptional and compelling circumstances, pointing to Shiel’s previously unblemished record.

Anderson successfully sought tribunal chairman Geoffrey Giudice’s permission to submit evidence relating to the 2017 preliminary final collision between Shiel and Cotchin in which Shiel was concussed but for which Cotchin escaped without suspension.

Shiel said that the significance of the Cotchin incident was that Shiel had needed to change elements of his technique following the hit.

“The reason it’s significant is that it changed the way I needed to approach contesting the ball … [to] not leaving my head exposed,” Shiel told the tribunal.

Shiel added that he had always valued fair play.

“I’d like to think that people would describe me as a footballer would describe me as a ball player and a fair player, and I think that’s been demonstrated across my career,” the Bomber said.

Williams, who coached Shiel at Greater Western Sydney and whose daughter is Shiel’s partner, said Shiel was “one of the fairest players I’ve ever had anything to do with in my 30 years of coaching.”

“He deserves to be given a second chance,” Williams told the jury.

Meanwhile St Kilda defender Ben Long will miss games against Adelaide, Port Adelaide and a yet to be identified team after the tribunal suspended him for three matches in Tuesday night’s earlier hearing.

Long had been sent straight to the tribunal following his head-high bump laid on Sean Darcy which concussed the Fremantle ruckman during the second quarter of the Dockers’ come-from-behind victory over the Saints on the Gold Coast.

St Kilda's Ben Long

St Kilda’s Ben Long Credit:Getty Images

The case was a relatively straightforward one, with Long pleading guilty to the charge of rough conduct.

Having discussed the matter before the hearing, AFL counsel Jeff Gleeson QC and Long’s advocate, St Kilda director Jack Rush QC both agreed to submit that Long should be suspended for three matches.

“He’s concussed, he’s got ongoing jaw pain,” Mr Gleeson said.

“The guidelines refer to the fact that strong consideration must be given to the potential to cause serious injury.

“It has to be said, there was the potential for even worse consequences.”

Mr Rush noted however that Darcy had suffered “no broken bones, no lacerations.”

“There is some mild right-sided neck pain,” he added.

Ultimately tribunal jurors Shane Wakelin, Stephen Jurica and David Neitz heeded the advice of the respective parties, opting to rub Long out for three matches, citing Long’s decision to bump rather than contest the ball, and the fact Darcy had been concussed. They said there had been no malice in the bump.

The jury said it attached weight to the agreement from the parties.

Long, who fronted the tribunal via a video-link from the Saints’ Noosa hub, will miss the Saints’ South Australian double-up against the Crows and the Power as well as the club’s round nine match. Such is the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 fixture, St Kilda only know the identities of their next two opponents and none beyond that.

Earlier on Tuesday, Port Adelaide’s Brad Ebert accepted a one-match ban for rough conduct in relation to bumping Greater Western Sydney’s Harry Perryman on Sunday.

Ebert will miss the ladder-leaders’ match against Carlton.

A host of players also accepted fines stemming from round six matches.

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