The AFL wishes to advise that it has elected not to appeal the result of last night’s Tribunal hearing, involving Essendon player Adam Cooney, after exploring the league’s options today under the AFL Regulations.

Cooney was suspended for one match after pleading not guilty to a charge of engaging in rough conduct against the GWS Giants’ Stephen Coniglio from Sunday’s round 19 match at Spotless Stadium, after his charge was referred directly to the Tribunal by the Match Review Panel without the ability to accept any early plea.

AFL General Manager Football Operations Mark Evans said it was the AFL’s view the penalty should have been greater than one match, after the referral directly to the Tribunal, but its legal advice today had shown the prospect of success in any appeal was low.

“Adam Cooney was given a reduced sentence of one game, in part because the Tribunal accepted an argument to his record of 230 games across 12 seasons without any previous suspension,” Mr Evans said.

“Few players would qualify for a record of no suspensions across 12 years but the AFL viewed this charge as a serious matter of rough conduct, given that Stephen Coniglio was concussed and could not continue in the match.

“The AFL’s legal advice was that the points of appeal relating to classification and / or sanction around ‘manifestly excessive’ did not allow grounds for the AFL to appeal on the belief the penalty was too low.

“The AFL was further advised that it was open to the Tribunal members last night to determine medium impact on the evidence and argument presented, albeit the AFL viewed the impact was high.

“It was also open to the Tribunal members to consider the player’s record in exceptional and compelling circumstances, albeit again that the AFL viewed the incident worthy of a minimum two-game suspension with an early plea,” he said.

Mr Evans said the AFL would seek further advice on amendments to the regulations and guidelines for the Tribunal members to clarify the AFL’s position on head safety, as it did not believe that a one-game penalty was appropriate in this circumstance.