Brad Scott speaks to his players during the R11 match between Essendon and Richmond at the MCG on May 25, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

ESSENDON coach Brad Scott believes Patrick Dangerfield deserved to beat his rough conduct charge, even though it meant the Geelong superstar would face the Bombers.

Dangerfield won his challenge to a one-game suspension at the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday night after being cited for a tackle on Carlton star Sam Walsh.

His availability is crucial for Geelong, which has lost six of its past seven games and will be without veteran forward Tom Hawkins against the Bombers at the MCG on Saturday night.

"I watched it (Dangerfield's tackle) live and thought he didn't have a case to answer in the first place," Scott said on Wednesday.

"I tried to avoid the range of emotions – 'he's in, he's out' – just planned for him to be in and forgot about it until it was confirmed."

Scott warned the AFL not to expect too much of players when cracking down on dangerous tackles.

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"The expectation that AFL prosecutors put on (that) you've got to release an arm I think is realistic,'' he said. 

"When a player who's got his arm pinned doesn't get slammed into the ground, or if he does there's a suspension that follows, that bit is really clear. 

"There's a little bit of a challenge for players in between that, but I thought 'Danger' exercised the duty of care and tried to hold Walsh up.

"To expect players to pull them back, not let their head hit the ground, but release an arm at the same time and hold with one arm ... there's a lot of expectation on players, and I thought 'Danger' explained it pretty well."

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Essendon (9-1-4) is flying in third spot on the ladder and has a genuine opportunity to break a hoodoo against the Cats.

Geelong has won 12 of its past 14 matches against the Bombers, who last triumphed back in 2018.

Veteran ruck Todd Goldstein was rested for last Sunday's win against West Coast and appears unlikely to return to partner with Sam Draper.

Sam Draper handballs during Essendon's clash against West Coast in round 15, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

After missing eight weeks, Draper performed strongly against the Eagles, and Essendon will fancy his chances of winning the ruck battle alone.

Geelong threw full-back Sam De Koning into the ruck last Friday night in a heavy loss against Carlton.

"(Draper's) pulled up better than he has in my time here, so he's in good shape," Scott said.