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AFL Tribunal suspends Neal-Bullen for four matches

“Not once was my mindset to hurt Will,” a remorseful Neal-Bullen said during the hearing. “It’s not how I play football, I will never play football like that.

“I sent my best wishes [to Hamill post game] and wanted to let him know there was no malice with the tackle and I hope he recovers quickly.”

Legal counsel for the AFL Jeff Gleeson said Neal-Bullen’s intent did not mitigate the effect of the tackle and that he should be suspended for four matches.

This is a very bad tackle. It’s a full sling. Mr Hamill’s head was flung into the ground with great velocity and his head bounced [off the turf] in vision that is difficult to watch,” Gleeson said.

“It caused significant damage and it could have been worse.”

The jury – made up of Paul Williams, Wayne Henwood and Richard Loveridge – heard that Hamill would miss at least seven days’ training and two games.

Earlier in the season the AFL flagged a crackdown on dangerous tackles following Shaun Burgoyne’s tackle on Patrick Dangerfield.

Burgoyne was only fined for that tackle but the AFL changed its tribunal guidelines to allow the MRO to consider the potential to cause injury for all dangerous tackles, not just spear tackles and tackles where the arms are pinned.

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