Beau McCreery during the match between GWS and Collingwood in Opening Round, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

COLLINGWOOD'S Beau McCreery is free to play against Sydney on Friday night, with the Magpies forward cleared of any wrongdoing for his tackle on Callan Ward that will sideline the Giants veteran for some time.

Just before half time at Engie Stadium on Saturday night, Ward was caught in a McCreery tackle as soon as he gathered a loose ball and was taken shoulder-first into the turf.

The former Giants skipper was subbed off at the main break and is expected to be sidelined for some time due to an AC joint injury.


But the Match Review Officer did not reference the incident in his review of the Saturday games, with a rough conduct fine for Richmond's Noah Balta the only sanction from the two matches.

Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes had been among those who had expected, based on previous rulings, that McCreery would come under scrutiny from the MRO.

"I looked at it, I winced and I thought 'he's in trouble'. That was my first instinct," Cornes told The Round So Far on Saturday night, before the MRO's finding.

"Luckily its not a head, but that's a nasty AC joint (injury).

"Do the AFL care about shoulders or do they only care about heads? And did McCreery show a duty of care towards Callan Ward in that incident? I would say no."

Balta was fined $3750, which can be reduced to $2500, for rough conduct on Gold Coast's Alex Sexton on Saturday afternoon.