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Two-game ban for Douglas after bump on Ward

Crow cops two-game ban Nat Edwards gives you all the latest from the AFL Tribunal
ADELAIDE midfielder Richard Douglas has been hit with a two-game ban for engaging in rough conduct against Greater Western Sydney co-captain Callan Ward.

Douglas bumped an unsuspecting Ward with his shoulder during the second quarter of the Crows' win last Sunday on Adelaide Oval as the Giants' co-captain was chasing Adelaide's Brodie Smith.

The incident was referred directly to the Tribunal, leaving members Richard Loveridge, Emmett Dunne and Wayne Schimmelbusch to grade the incident that left Ward concussed and unable to take further part in the match. 

The jury determined the bump to be reckless conduct, high contact and high impact, resulting in a grade four rough conduct charge, which carries 425 demerit points and a four-week suspension. 

Due to his unblemished record and his guilty plea, Douglas' penalty was reduced from four games to two, which will see him return after the Crows' bye to face Collingwood in round nine. 

Douglas' player advocate Iain Findlay argued the contact was not head-high and should be graded as negligent, not reckless.

The 27-year-old told the Tribunal the bump was necessary to protect the ball carrier and that shepherding was not an option as he believed his arms could have easily been brushed aside by Ward. 

"I can categorically tell you I did not hit him in the head," Douglas said.

"I believe it was shoulder-on-shoulder.

"After the game I went over to Callan and asked him if he was feeling OK and he said he felt fine."

Legal counsel Jeff Gleeson SC presented a medical report from the Giants as evidence, which stated Ward was still receiving on-going treatment for concussion which could potentially see him miss Saturday's clash against Gold Coast.

Emergency field umpire Curtis DeBoy also gave evidence via video link and said he believed there was a clash of heads.

He stated he left the bench, 30m away from the incident, intending to report Douglas immediately but became preoccupied when a fight broke out amongst other players. 

Douglas said he was not surprised that the incident was sent directly to the Tribunal, rather than being graded by the Match Review Panel. 

“I’m obviously disappointed to miss the next two games but that’s footy and I’m looking forward to getting back to play the Pies," he said. 

“I think I just have to cop what happens. I'm disappointed how it worked out but that’s the way it goes."

Richard Douglas earns the ire of the Giants after his bump on Callan Ward. Picture: AFL Media