IF GEELONG star Tom Stewart's high hit on Richmond midfielder Dion Prestia is assessed as expected by the Tribunal on Tuesday night, he will be handed the largest penalty of any player so far this season.

Stewart's late hit has caused more of a stir than any reportable offence this year and reignited calls for a red card system to penalise offending players and their teams immediately.

Most observers have assessed a reasonable penalty as being either three or four matches after the incident was graded by the Match Review Officer as careless conduct with severe impact and high contact.

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Three matches would be the most severe penalty this season, while a four-match ban would make Stewart only the fourth player to lose a month of football through suspension in the past four seasons.   

Greater Western Sydney star Toby Greene's six-week penalty has been the most severe in that time, while a further five players have been suspended for three or four matches.

So far this season, two matches has been the maximum penalty handed down, with six players losing a fortnight of football because of ill-discipline.

Carlton midfielder Will Setterfield's two-match ban was the only suspension of more than one match in 2019.

LONGEST AFL SUSPENSIONS OF THE PAST FOUR SEASONS

Toby Greene (GWS)

6 matches

2021

Scott Lycett (PORT)

4 matches

2021

Alex Neal-Bullen (MELB)

4 matches

2020

Kyle Hartigan (HAW)

3 matches

2021

Patrick Dangerfield (GEEL)

3 matches

2021

Ben Long (STK)

3 matches

2020

The MRO's grading of careless is likely to save Stewart from the heftier penalties that have been reserved for intentional, non-football acts like striking.  

Of the 12 most severe penalties this century, earning a minimum six matches on the sidelines, nine have been graded as intentional, with the remaining three fitting into the since-removed category of reckless. 

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Jeremy Cameron's forearm to the head of Brisbane defender Harris Andrews in 2018 was graded as intentional, earning a five-match suspension.

There are similarities between that hit and the Stewart case, but the MRO chose the lesser grading of careless, making a suspension of less than five weeks the more likely outcome.

The Tribunal is free to judge the Geelong defender's actions as it sees fit, however, using the MRO's grading as a guide only.

LONGEST AFL SUSPENSIONS THIS CENTURY

Andrew Gaff (WCE) 8 matches 2018
Dean Solomon (FRE) 8 matches 2008
Barry Hall (SYD) 7 matches 2008
Steven Baker (STK) 7 matches 2007
Toby Greene (GWS) 6 matches 2021
Tom Bugg (MELB) 6 matches 2017
Tom Jonas (PORT) 6 matches 2016
Campbell Brown (GC) 6 matches 2012
Jeff Farmer (FRE) 6 matches 2007
Ben Johnson (COLL) 6 matches 2007
Brodie Holland (COLL) 6 matches 2006
Byron Pickett (PORT) 6 matches 2005