Britney Gutknecht kicks the ball during the Western Bulldogs' clash against St Kilda in round five, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

THE AFL has opted not to appeal the Tribunal decision that saw Western Bulldogs midfielder Britney Gutknecht's rough conduct charge dismissed on Tuesday night.

Gutknecht was sent straight to the Tribunal for her huge tackle on Sydney's Paige Sheppard, and based on the Match Review Officer's grading, faced a ban of three-plus matches.

Sheppard was concussed in the incident after being drilled into the Whitten Oval turf by Gutknecht, but the Tribunal dismissed the case and the Dogs' midfielder is free to play this week.


In a statement on Wednesday, the AFL said it "was not the outcome sought by the AFL", however ruled out appealing the decision.

"After careful consideration and review of the Tribunal's decision and reasons following last night's hearing into the incident involving Western Bulldogs' Britney Gutknecht's tackle on Sydney's Paige Sheppard, the AFL has decided not to appeal the Tribunal’s decision," the statement read.

"Although the Tribunal's decision was not the outcome sought by the AFL in issuing its match review findings, the AFL respects the reasoning of the Tribunal in arriving at its decision.

"However, notwithstanding this decision, the AFL acknowledges that the tackle in question resulted in Sheppard suffering a concussion, and the AFL re-iterates that the health and safety of players is the AFL's priority.

"Accordingly, the incident (in addition to other incidents which did not result in suspensions this year) will be subject to close examination at the end of the season. At the conclusion of the AFLW season, the AFL will consider further rule changes to deter avoidable forceful head high contact and to further reduce the incidence of concussion in our game."


The Bulldogs are anchored to the bottom of the ladder and remain winless after eight rounds.

They face West Coast on Saturday, before finishing their season with a clash against North Melbourne.