Huge ban looms after bombshell verdict
Geelong Cats midfielder Patrick Dangerfield is staring down the barrel of a hefty suspension after his frightening collision with Adelaide Crows defender Jake Kelly.
During Saturday afternoon's AFL game at Adelaide Oval, Dangerfield put on a late bump after Kelly had disposed of the ball, a heavy clash of heads leaving the Crow unmoving on the turf.
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Kelly was attended by trainers as a chorus of boos echoed around Adelaide Oval, presumably pointed towards the Geelong stalwart.
The 27-year-old was stretchered off the ground with a broken nose and heavy concussion.
Under newly-introduced concussion protocols, Kelly will be required to miss Adelaide's round two game against Sydney.
On Sunday afternoon, the AFL confirmed that Dangerfield had been referred directly to the Tribunal after Match Review Officer Michael Christian graded the bump as careless and severe.
"Patrick Dangerfield has been charged with engaging in rough conduct," the AFL statement read.
"Based on the available evidence, the incident was assessed as Careless Conduct, Severe Impact and High Contact. The incident was classified as a direct referral to the Tribunal and the player cannot accept an early plea."
According to The Herald Sun, the base suspension for a careless-severe force hit to the head is three or more weeks.
The report claims even if Geelong successfully argued to downgrade the hit from severe to medium, Dangerfield would still miss two weeks.
For precedent consider the Ben Long-Sean Darcy hit last year. It was severe impact when Darcy was concussed. Get set for a Monday night tribunal case for three-plus weeks. https://t.co/cIqexylI2L— Jon Ralph (@RalphyHeraldSun) March 21, 2021
The bump was clearly unintentional, but if Dangerfield is found guilty of foul play and misses a game, it would rule him out of contention for the coveted Brownlow Medal.
Speaking to reporters after the 12-point defeat to Adelaide, Geelong coach Chris Scott said collisions were inevitable in the game.
"I haven't looked at the vision but live my take was when you've got two players running full speed at each other and one player kicks the ball just before contact then the player should do everything he cannot to hurt the other player," Scott said on Saturday.
"Don't jump off the ground, don't raise your arms, you can't tackle him. Sometimes players run into each other and there's a head clash. I don't think he intended to headbutt him that's for sure.
"To my eye it looked like he was doing everything he could to protect himself and the other player. It's the game we play. Two guys running that speed straight at each other, collisions happen."
Dangerfield is an eight-time All-Australian, and three-time best and fairest winner with Geelong.
The Cats will next face the Brisbane Lions at Geelong's GMHBA Stadium on Friday evening.
Originally published as Huge ban looms after bombshell verdict