Essendon and Hawthorn players scuffle during R1, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

ESSENDON'S Andrew McGrath has defended Hawthorn's James Sicily after the Hawks said they would challenge their skipper's one-match ban for kicking.

On Monday, McGrath said he barely felt the contact from Sicily in the opening minutes of their match on Saturday at the MCG.

Sicily was offered a one-game ban for the incident, which happened after he gave away a free to opponent Matt Guelfi.

After Guelfi kicked the first goal of the game, Sicily scuffled with several Essendon players and his foot made contact with McGrath.

But the Bombers defender said it barely registered.

"After every incident our club doctor calls us to see if there are any medical ramifications or any soreness, my report to him was that there's nothing - I've got no bruise, no nothing," McGrath told SEN on Monday.


"Hopefully that stands up in the appeal, if there is one.

"It was pretty innocuous ... I didn't even really realise that he put his foot into the back of me, which suggests how severe the kick was. Not very at all.

"But they're stamping that out of the game and we'll see where that lands."

The Hawks' captain, who was last year banned for three games for rough conduct, has been charged with intentional conduct, medium impact and body contact.

The club will likely seek to have the charge downgraded from medium impact to low impact.

Meanwhile, Essendon has opted not to challenge Mason Redman's one-game ban for striking Jai Newcombe in the same match on Saturday.


The Redman incident was graded intentional, low impact and high contact and means he will miss Essendon's clash against Sydney at the SCG on Saturday night.

The Redman incident comes a week after Carlton's George Hewett was fined, not suspended, for a similar strike that caught Brisbane's Lachie Neale high. The Hewett incident occurred while the players were contesting a ball up and was graded careless, while the Redman incident happened off the ball and was graded intentional. A reverse camera angle of the Hewett incident also showed the Blues midfielder had initially struck Neale in the shoulder before the action moved up and finished with high contact.