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Cotchin clear: Tigers skipper can play in Grand Final

Nathan Schmook  September 25, 2017 11:25 AM

Shiel sore after this contest with Cotchin Dylan Shiel benched and out of the game
AFL 2017 Training - Richmond 250917

Richmond captain Trent Cotchin at training on Monday after being cleared by the MRP

RICHMOND captain Trent Cotchin will lead the Tigers into Saturday's Grand Final against Adelaide after the Match Review Panel on Monday cleared him of any wrongdoing.

Cotchin was scrutinised for a collision with Dylan Shiel in Saturday's preliminary final, which ultimately left the Greater Western Sydney midfielder with concussion.

However, the MRP ruled Cotchin was contesting the ball and had no case to answer, allowing the inspirational skipper to play as the Tigers chase their first premiership in 37 years.

The MRP sat at 9am on Monday in an effort to resolve the Cotchin case as soon as possible after being unable to convene on Sunday because of the unavailability of some members.

The Panel cleared Cotchin because it was believed he was seeking to win possession of the ball and contact was not unreasonable in the circumstances.  

"The ball is loose between Cotchin and Shiel. Both players are seeking to win possession and are coming towards each other from right angles," the MRP said in its findings.

"Cotchin moves down low and braces for contact as Shiel approaches to pick up the ball.

"It was the view of the panel that Cotchin was seeking to win possession as his line of direction was always towards the ball and not his opponent.

"The panel determined that Cotchin was seeking to contest the ball and therefore contact was not unreasonable in the circumstances. No further action was taken."

Cotchin cannoned into Shiel in the first quarter of Saturday's blockbuster final, making high contact to the GWS star, who had his head over the ball.

There was uncertainty around the exact cause of Shiel's concussion after Richmond defender David Astbury collected the midfielder high 10 minutes after the Cotchin collision. 

Because Cotchin's actions were cleared, there was no need to factor in a GWS medical report.

Richmond teammate Brandon Ellis is also clear to play on Saturday after he was cleared of any wrongdoing in a collision with GWS midfielder Lachie Whitfield.

"Ellis runs through the line of the ball and seeks to win possession as Whitfield approaches the contest," the MRP said. 

"Ellis braces for contact with Whitfield and high contact is made to the Giants’ player. It was the view of the panel that Ellis was contesting the ball." 

Contact between Adelaide star Rory Sloane and Brownlow medallist Patrick Dangerfield in Friday night's preliminary final was also cleared.

The panel said Sloane was near-stationary and put his hands up to block a handpass from Dangerfield before bracing for contact, with no bumping action used.