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Ablett's Brownlow hopes under cloud after day of niggle

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GARY Ablett's march to a third Brownlow Medal could be in the hands of the Match Review Panel after he appeared to throw an elbow at Western Bulldog Liam Picken during Sunday's big win at Metricon Stadium.

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While on the ground after a stoppage, Ablett swung his right elbow towards the tagger and appeared to catch him on the jaw.

A medical report on Picken may have to determine the force of the blow.

Picken had frustrated Ablett for much of the game, holding him to three possessions in the first quarter and leading Ablett to vent his frustrations to the umpires in the second term.

Picken repeatedly pulled Ablett down off the ball, bumped him and generally niggled the champion midfielder.

If you don't mind, umpire! Gary Ablett shows his frustration at Metricon Stadium on Sunday. Picture: AFL Media

Although Ablett finished with five free kicks, the tactics appeared to work as he went to the main break with just eight touches, including one wild kick out on the full.

Like the champion he is, Ablett rallied after half-time to finish with 24 disposals and a team high seven clearances.

Suns coach Guy McKenna said he saw no illegal incidents involving Ablett, and was full of praise for his captain.

"That's testament to him to keep his discipline. He gets frustrated, he's got an expectation of how he wants to lead the side and when he's denied that, unfairly, all we talk about is he has to remain cool because he is our captain. He sets a fine example on and off the field," McKenna said.

"I thought to his credit today, I didn't see anything, but if there was anything undue, you wouldn't have picked that up from Gary, he was head down, backside up and went after the footy and if there was free kicks there, they were paid."

Ablett won Brownlow Medals in 2009 and 2013 and is heavily favoured to become the first three-time winner since Ian Stewart.

He has averaged 33 disposals and kicked 18 goals so far this season.