Madison Prespakis sheds a tear during the match between Richmond and Essendon at Ikon Park in round seven, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

ADELAIDE will not challenge Najwa Allen's record three-match suspension handed down by the AFL Tribunal, but believe two matches should have been adequate.

The longest ban ever across the eight AFLW seasons, the penalty – which came after Allen collected Western Bulldog Kirsten McLeod high with a bump – has reignited the debate around the proportionate length of suspensions in the 10-round competition.

Allen did not leave the ground, but the taller Crow's shoulder collected McLeod's head, with Allen raising her elbow in the follow-through of the bump, rather than keeping a straight-tucked arm the entire time.

McLeod has a history of serious concussion issues, having 18 months on the sidelines to aid her recovery before returning in round nine last season. 

Crows head of footy Phil Harper said the club had explored "a number of avenues" before deciding to accept the suspension. Allen will return for week one of the finals.


"Firstly, it goes without saying player welfare must always be the top priority and we send our best wishes to Kristen McLeod with her recovery," Harper said.

"We also acknowledge the delicate nature of concussion, as well as the current industry landscape. 

"However, we are very disappointed at the three-game penalty, which equates to a third of the season, and how in practical terms that compares to other incidents across the AFL and AFLW. 

"While we absolutely accept the incident warranted a penalty, we firmly believe it was an innocuous football action, with incidental contact and it was never Najwa’s intention to cause harm."

Also on Tuesday night, Essendon star Maddy Prespakis successfully overturned her one-match ban for a dumping tackle on former teammate and Richmond midfielder Sarah Hosking. 

Prespakis is now still eligible for the AFLW best and fairest.

"She (Hosking) dropped her shoulder. I just stood there as still as possible," Prespakis said during her evidence. 

"I feel like if she didn't drive into me with force, I would have been able to hold her up."

AFLW Tribunal chairman Jeff Gleeson said the three-person panel didn't all agree on the case, but the majority voted Prespakis should be cleared of any wrongdoing.

Prespakis, who has averaged 27 disposals and five tackles a game this season, is now free to play against West Coast this week.


Allen was sent straight to the Tribunal for her hit on Kirsten McLeod after it was classified as careless conduct, severe impact and high contact.

The Bulldogs medical report stated McLeod was set to miss three training days and either one or two matches.

Allen pleaded guilty to the hit, but Adelaide counsel Andrew Culshaw fought to have the severe impact classification downgraded to high or medium.

Culshaw used the example of Patrick Dangerfield's flying bump on then-Crow Jake Kelly in 2021 as an example of what a true severe impact situation looked like.

Dangerfield received a three-match ban for the bump that left Kelly with a heavy concussion and a broken nose. 

"It might cause you to flinch a little bit when you first see it," Culshaw said of the Dangerfield bump. 

"It looks aggressive and forceful. Severe impact will usually involve that unrestrained or excessive force.

"This incident (involving Allen) does not merit a sledgehammer punishment that comes with severe impact.

"This was intended to be a legal shepherd. It was delivered with some force but with restrained force, and it went wrong."

Najwa Allen in action during the preliminary final between Adelaide and Brisbane on November 18, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

AFL counsel Lisa Hannon successfully argued the hit contained all the necessary ingredients to be classified as severe.

"While the incident appeared relatively innocuous at first glance, on closer viewing it was not surprising a concussion ensued," Gleeson said.

"There was a potential for a facial injury given the force and location of contact to the head."

The ban means Allen will miss the remaining three home and away games of the AFLW season for the ladder-leading Crows.

Greater Western Sydney's Rebecca Beeson accepted her one-match ban for rough conduct on St Kilda's Tyanna Smith