MATCH Review Panel member Nathan Burke has criticised the use of character references from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and media personality and academic Waleed Aly in Bachar Houli's defence at the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday night.

Richmond's Houli was given a two-match suspension for his backhand hit on Carlton's Jed Lamb last Sunday, a strike that left the Blue concussed and out of the game.

Houli's counsel submitted character references from the PM, via a transcript of a speech given at a function at Punt Road on Monday, and Gold Logie winner Aly.

Burke said he would "much prefer" to see incidents viewed and graded purely on their merit.

"If you start bringing in 'this bloke's a good bloke, this bloke's not a good bloke', who are we to actually judge who is a good bloke and who isn't in the first place?," he said on Fox Footy.

"And then what we end up with are disparate sentences. If somebody goes in next week and does exactly the same thing, but doesn't know Waleed Aly, doesn't know the Prime Minister, does that mean they get three or four weeks?

"That's potentially where the issue lies."

Former Tribunal member Daniel Harford said he was certain the AFL would challenge the verdict. 

"There is a case to suggest that if you make intentional contact with a forceful flaying arm to the head of an opponent, to knock him out cold straight away, you should be looking at six weeks," Harford said on RSN radio. 

"Somehow we've ended up with a two-week ban … which is absolutely manifestly inaccurate and I have no doubt the AFL will challenge this this morning. 

"Because you cannot have a situation where a player willingly, which was deemed by the Tribunal,  hit someone with force enough to knock him out cold and serve a two-week suspension. 

"It was an unacceptable outcome last night. 

"I'm OK with there being a discount for good behaviour at the end, like there seems to have been. It might have been a four-week discount the way they've gone last night, which is way too much. 

"I don't care how good a bloke he is on Monday to Friday. I don't care what he does outside the field because it's no relevance to what he does on the field. 

"He made an error and I have no doubt he wouldn't do it again. But he needs to pay the appropriate price for that."

GWS veteran Steve Johnson was also unimpressed with the Tribunal verdict.

"I think he can count himself pretty lucky I would have thought," Johson said on Wednesday morning.

The former Cat was also critical of the impact of Houli's character references.

"I’m not too sure - maybe they think I’m not a great bloke because I’ve copped plenty of weeks (from the MRP) over the years.

"I think it counts for something having a really strong character. If you’ve been in the game for such a long time and you’ve got a pretty clear record, that has to help I think."

"Speaking about fines, if I start commenting on the Tribunal, I’ll probably get one myself."

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire said on his Triple M radio show that Houli's good character "in daily life" should not be relevant to the Tribunal penalty.

"My point is this: It should not be taken into account what happens in daily life. It underlines that he is a good character but that should not have been brought into the determination of his penalty," McGuire said. 

Former Hawthorn and Gold Coast defender Campbell Brown, who was suspended for 29 games during his AFL career, said the verdict was "unbelievably soft and quite pathetic".

"Richmond should be doing cartwheels out of the tribunal," Brown told SEN radio.

"No one knows more about the tribunal, MRP and incidents than I do. I think the footy world will be gobsmacked."

Brown contrasted Houli's penalty to North Melbourne midfielder Ben Cunnington's one-week suspension for punching Bulldog Toby McLean.

"You saw Ben Cunnington get a week for slapping someone in the neck, " Brown said.

"To turn around and throw a backhanded elbow that knocks someone out cold, and to only get an extra week, is unbelievably soft and quite pathetic," Brown said.