WEST Coast defender Jeremy McGovern's one-match rough conduct suspension has been upheld at the AFL Tribunal, following a complicated hearing on Tuesday night.
McGovern had been offered a one-match ban last Friday, having shoved Essendon's Matt Guelfi over the boundary line and into a fence. The incident left the Bombers youngster with concussion, as well as bruised ribs having also struck a chair on the edge of the field.
The Eagles argued two issues at the Tribunal. The first was that McGovern's actions were reasonable in the circumstances, while suggesting that the presence of the security guard's chair impacted upon Guelfi's ability to protect his head from hitting the fence.
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However, the Tribunal agreed with the AFL's position that the location of the chair shouldn't change the fact that McGovern's actions in pushing Guelfi were unreasonable.
It means McGovern will miss West Coast's clash with Hawthorn at the MCG on Saturday.
"We got a fair hearing. It is what it is and I'll cop the week. I'm just glad Matt's health is OK. That was my main concern." McGovern told media after the Tribunal sitting.
During the hearing, the star defender said he was trying to lay body contact on Guelfi in an effort to stop him from overlapping, saying he knew he was going to miss him with a bump so chose to push.
He said he knew he was within the field of play when he first made contact with his opponent, saying he didn't know where he was when he followed through on his action.
McGovern's legal representative, David Grace QC, said the West Coast defender would have executed the exact same bump had Guelfi been in the middle of the field.
However, Andrew Woods of the AFL's legal counsel argued that McGovern "forcibly pushed" Guelfi while over the boundary line. McGovern countered, saying he was unsure exactly where the edge of the field was while completing and following through with his bump.
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Grace also suggested Guelfi's torso twisted upon colliding with the chair, forcing him to roll back and become horizonal as his head struck the fence. He said the Essendon youngster attempted to brace for contact, but couldn't as a result of the chair's presence.
In doing so, he also called upon the AFL to examine whether security should be situated inside the fence in the future, given the danger of such a situation repeating itself.
Having deliberated for 11 minutes, the Tribunal decided McGovern's actions were unreasonable – even with the chair's presence – upholding the Match Review's decision.