Adelaide midfielder Ebony Marinoff has been cleared to play in round one, with the AFL appeals board upholding the Crows’ appeal against her three-match suspension for forceful front-on contact in an incident that left Giants defender Brid Stack in a neck brace with a fracture of the C7 vertebra.
Appeals board chairman David Jones delivered the decision on Thursday night 11 days after the incident, nine days after the original tribunal verdict, two days before the Adelaide Crows were set to play, well after the Carlton v Collingwood season opener began and 3½ hours after Thursday’s appeal started, following one adjournment.
The decision means Marinoff, a two-time All-Australian and dual premiership player, is available to line up against the Eagles in Perth on Saturday night.
The appeals board accepted the arguments of Marinoff’s counsel, Sam Abbott QC, that the tribunal decision was unreasonable. He argued that Marinoff had no opportunity to avoid the collision, that the tribunal’s expectation for her to tackle Stack was unrealistic, that the impact was not severe and that it was not her force, but rather Stack’s, that caused the damage in any event.