Charlie Cameron in action during Brisbane's clash with Geelong in round 19, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

GEELONG coach Chris Scott says clubs are now duty-bound to pursue the 'good character clause' at the Tribunal after Brisbane's Charlie Cameron was cleared of a suspension this week.

The Match Review Officer charged Cameron with rough conduct and handed him a one-match ban last week, but the Tribunal on Tuesday found "exceptional and compelling circumstances" to use its discretion to reduce the sanction to a fine, citing Cameron's previous record and character assessments off the field.

Scott said he was surprised that Cameron's character was successfully used in his defence, adding it would be "offensive" to suggest others who have failed in using the defence in Tribunal appeals have lesser character.

"Well, you have to now. You have to now," Scott said when asked if his club would pursue the same mode of appeal in the future. "Whether you agree with it or not, it’s incumbent on you to use that.

"It would be offensive to any of our players to suggest they have lesser character than the two players in recent history who have successfully used that clause. There are plenty of others who have asked for it and been denied, which is highly offensive.

"I think the broader conversation is one worth having. I don't feel like I have anything to add to it right at the moment, except to say that we're really clear on what the AFL is trying to do around dangerous tackles and in anything that has a potential to cause head trauma.

"When I saw (the Cameron tackle) I expected him to be playing. So it's not like it's overly surprising, the surprising part is how they got to that point.

"I've got a view on it, but I just don't think I can be constructive around that conversation at the moment ... I'm generally not afraid to contribute my opinion – I think that's reasonable – but it is much more challenging when you're playing that team this week."


Before Cameron, Richmond's Bachar Houli was the last player to successfully have a sanction downgraded at the Tribunal after citing good character as a defence. The AFL later successfully appealed the Tribunal’s decision and Houli’s ban was increased from two matches to four.

On Wednesday, AFL boss Andrew Dillon told the League would not challenge the Tribunal's ruling in the Cameron case, but added his belief that the MRO's initial ruling of a one-match ban was "right".

He added the AFL would re-assess whether character references should be a part of future hearings.

"I think that's one of the things we would look at towards the end of the year," he said on State of the Game.