There are four grounds for appeal under tribunal guidelines:
- An error of law has occurred;
- The decision of the tribunal is so unreasonable that no tribunal, acting reasonably, could have come to that decision, having regard to the evidence before it;
- The classification of the offence by the tribunal was manifestly excessive or inadequate;
- The sanction imposed by the tribunal was manifestly excessive or inadequate.
The Saints did not dispute that Long’s bump should be classified as rough conduct, nor that it was careless contact to the head, but argued that the impact should be classified low, rather than match review officer Michael Christian’s assessment of medium.
A medical report tendered to the tribunal said that Macrae had required immediate on-field assessment but did not leave the field. The Bulldog played out the game.
Much of the debate between the parties’ respective legal representatives – Jack Rush QC for Long and Jeff Gleeson QC for the AFL – was about whether the incident’s potential to cause injury should be taken into account.
Rush, who is also a Saints director, showed jurors Richard Loveridge, Paul Williams and David Neitz footage of three similar incidents from recent seasons to differentiate between what has been classified low and medium impact in the past.
However, Gleeson urged the jury to be cautious when trying to compare the impact of different incidents.
“This is not a glancing blow to the face but significant, forceful impact,” Gleeson argued in reference to the vision of Long’s hit on Macrae.
“He came in off the line, he gathered speed, and the force at which he hit Macrae was considerable.”
Gleeson said that the fact Long was himself knocked off his feet in the incident pointed to the degree of force in the bump. He added that the jury should consider whether they were surprised Macrae got up so easily following the hit.
However, Rush took aim at some of Gleeson’s arguments.
“Mr Gleeson is relying on potential to cause injury … you’re being invited to speculate, invited to partake in conjecture … you should be very, very careful in the way you interpret that,” Rush said.
Tribunal chairman David Jones urged the jury to use common sense when deliberating and to look at the incident in isolation. Long was suspended earlier this year for a high-bump on Fremantle’s Sean Darcy.
Carlisle said he was “devastated” to leave St Kilda’s hub, with the key defender acknowledging he may have played his last game for the club.
Carlisle left the Saints in Noosa to join his heavily pregnant partner, Mel, in Moama, ahead of the birth of the couple’s third child.
Carlisle could conceivably travel from NSW to South Australia, should the Saints progress to a preliminary final against Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval, but the backman, who is out of contract, said in a video released by St Kilda on Monday that he had played his last game for the season.
Ryder has also left the hub following his serious hamstring tendon injury, which will require surgery.
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Daniel is an Age sports reporter