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Power star facing ban for McGovern hit

Gray ban, Freo's growth, impatient Vince Footy Feed with Matt Thompson and Nat Edwards
If he was genuinely contesting the ball I'd like to see his hands down contesting the ball
Match review officer Michael Christian

PORT Adelaide star Robbie Gray is set to miss the Power's opening-round clash against Fremantle at Adelaide Oval after being slapped with a one-match suspension for rough conduct.

Gray was charged by match review officer Michael Christian for his high bump on West Coast's Jeremy McGovern, with the hit graded as careless conduct with medium impact to the head.

The Power can challenge the suspension at the Tribunal on Tuesday night and risk a $10,000 fine, rather than an extra week on the sidelines under the new judicial system introduced for 2018.

If the club failed at the Tribunal that fine would fall under the football department soft cap, presenting a significant deterrent if the Power are already close to the cap.

If Port chooses to accept the charge, Gray, who must serve his suspension during the home and away season rather than the JLT Community Series, will still be eligible for the Brownlow Medal.

Gray arrived at a disputed ball a split second after McGovern in Sunday's pre-season clash in Adelaide, but Christian believed he had elected to bump rather than brace for contact.


"His eyes moved from the ball to McGovern and if he was genuinely contesting the ball I'd like to see his hands down contesting the ball rather than shaping to bump," Christian said.

"I think he had other alternatives, rather than shaping to bump and bumping … the option was there to genuinely contest the ball and he elected not to. 

"When you elect to bump you must do it fairly, and if you make contact with the head in a careless manner then that is when there may well be a penalty forthcoming." 

Gray made high contact with his right shoulder, ending McGovern's day despite the star Eagle being "pretty coherent" on the bench and keen to play on after being assessed.

Christian used a West Coast medical report to determine the medium impact grading, rather than high, which would have resulted in a two-match ban for Gray.

Power teammate Paddy Ryder was also cited and can accept a $2000 fine for striking West Coast midfielder Andrew Gaff. 

The incident, which was assessed as careless conduct with low impact to the body, falls under the new fine structure for 2018, which increases with each offence. 

Melbourne midfielder Clayton Oliver was charged with misconduct against Ben Jacobs and can accept a $1500 fine with an early guilty plea. 

Oliver struck Jacobs to the body, but not with enough force to justify a low impact striking charge.

Under the new system, Christian is still able charge players with misconduct for such incidents in a clear sign he won't tolerate punching, regardless of the force.

"There wasn't a lot of force associated with it, but we want to see punching out of the game and this was an example when the whistle had clearly blown and it was a clear strike to the stomach," Christian said.   

In the only charge from round four of the NAB AFL Women's league, Collingwood's Lauren Tesoriero has been charged with engaging in rough conduct against Melbourne's Bianca Jakobsson and can accept a reprimand.