GEELONG superstar Patrick Dangerfield has been handed a three-match ban for rough conduct after an accidental head clash with Jake Kelly left the Adelaide defender with "significant concussion" and a broken nose.
Dangerfield, who was referred directly to the Tribunal on Tuesday night, pleaded guilty to careless conduct and high contact after choosing to bump Kelly in Saturday's clash at Adelaide Oval and causing a head clash between the former teammates.
The 2016 Brownlow medallist challenged the Match Review Officer's severe impact grading, however, failing to have that classification overturned and receiving a three-match ban that will sideline him until round five.
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A grading of high impact would likely have seen the ban reduced to two weeks in a best-case scenario for the 30-year-old, who will miss matches against Brisbane, Hawthorn and Melbourne. Following the hearing he said he accepted the Tribunal's decision and would not appeal.
Dangerfield did not give evidence on Tuesday night as he was not challenging the careless conduct charge, with lawyer Ben Ihle stating at the outset that his client understood he was liable for any damage done in a head clash under AFL rules.
An Adelaide medical report provided the crucial evidence, revealing Kelly had suffered a "significant loss of consciousness" as a result of the head clash and required ongoing treatment under the AFL's concussion protocols.
Kelly also suffered a broken nose in the head clash, missing at least three days' training and one match, given he will be sidelined for 12 days under the AFL's concussion protocols.
Dangerfield's counsel argued that the powerful midfielder's actions in accelerating and bumping at high speed should not be scrutinised as he had executed a legal bump with his arm tucked.
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Ihle pushed for the contact between the two players' heads to be analysed in isolation and queried whether the force and impact of that clash should be deemed severe.
He called on Apple's virtual assistant 'Siri' to provide a definition of severe, which he relayed to the jury as "very great or intense", disputing that the head clash fitted that definition.
Dangerfield's counsel also used the three previous "severe impact" cases to argue Dangerfield's collision with Kelly fit into a bracket below, based on the head clash being "secondary" to the initial bump.
The three cases cited were Jeremy Cameron's elbow to the head of Harris Andrews in 2018, Alex Neal-Bullen's dangerous tackle on Will Hamill last season, and Ben Long's high bump on Sean Darcy last season.
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Gleeson contested the idea contact between the players' heads was "secondary" and that impact from another part of the body would be more severe than a head clash.
"You certainly shouldn't conclude that the hard skull produces a lesser impact than if it was the fleshy shoulder," he told the jury.
The jury of Richard Loveridge, Paul Williams and Jason Johnson took roughly 15 minutes to deliberate and grade the impact as severe, in line with the Match Review Officer's classification.
They settled quickly on a three-match ban after Gleeson submitted that it would be an appropriate penalty, given Dangerfield's admission of careless conduct and high contact.