A FEW aggrieved players might want to start becoming pen pals with Jack Scrimshaw.
On Tuesday night, the young Hawthorn defender became the first player this season to successfully write to the AFL Tribunal in order to have his substantial Match Review fine overturned.
Scrimshaw, who risked a $3000 sanction for appealing his rough conduct charge on Jy Simpkin following Saturday's loss to North Melbourne, was the seventh player to challenge a Match Review fine at the Tribunal this year.
The previous six appeals had all been unsuccessful, costing footballers across the League a total of $4500 in excess fines given players risk additional financial penalties should their challenges fail.
Geelong's Isaac Smith, Sydney's Callum Mills and Hawthorn's Sam Frost were all penalised a further $500 each after their appeals were unsuccessful earlier in the year.
Meanwhile Carlton duo Levi Casboult and Harry McKay, as well as Sydney's Hayden McLean, were all forced to pay a further $1000 each after they also appealed sanctions that failed to be overturned by the Tribunal.
The AFL changed its appeal process for financial penalties ahead of the 2020 season, altering to a simplified procedure where "a single legally trained jury member may decide the matter on the basis of written submissions only".
It means that players and club legal representatives are no longer required to attend a hearing, with the AFL then communicating the results of the written submissions afterwards on behalf of the Tribunal.
Before Scrimshaw's written submission on Tuesday night, players had previously been running at a zero percent strike rate this season, while only three of 14 challenges were successful last year.
Richmond pair Dylan Grimes and Nick Vlastuin escaped staging penalties in 2020, while Carlton's Matt Cottrell dodged a rough conduct fine.
However, club and League officials have put the increased number of unsuccessful hearings down to the simplified process and the comparative ease of challenging financial penalties.
Without having to physically attend an AFL Tribunal and undergo a full hearing in front of a jury, a total of 21 players have elected to challenge financial penalties in the last 26 rounds of footy.
Compare that to 2019, the final year of physical representation and full AFL Tribunal hearings for appealing financial sanctions, and just three players in 23 rounds of football elected to try and overturn their punishments.
They were Richmond forward Jack Riewoldt, Carlton midfielder Sam Walsh and Adelaide star Taylor Walker. All three were also unsuccessful.
WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS IN 2021
Isaac Smith: UNSUCCESSFUL ($1000 to $1500) Rd 3 for misconduct against Daniel Howe
Callum Mills: UNSUCCESSFUL ($1000 to $1500) Rd 4 for careless contact with an umpire
Sam Frost: UNSUCCESSFUL ($1000 to $1500) Rd 5 for misconduct against Clayton Oliver
Levi Casboult: UNSUCCESSFUL ($2000 to $3000) Rd 6 for kneeing Ryan Lester
Hayden McLean: UNSUCCESSFUL ($1500 to $2500) Rd 8 for striking Harrison Petty
Harry McKay: UNSUCCESSFUL ($2000 to $3000) Rd 8 for striking Bailey Dale
Jack Scrimshaw: SUCCESS ($2000 to $0) Rd 9 for rough conduct against Jy Simpkin
Total excess fines: $4500