UPDATE Melbourne is appealing after its young midfielder Jack Viney was given a two-match suspension by the AFL Tribunal for his part in a collision that broke the jaw of an opponent.
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Jack Viney banned for two matches
Melbourne Demon Jack Viney hits twitter after being suspended for two matches following a collision with Adelaide's Tom Lynch that left the Crow with a broken jaw.
The appeal hearing is scheduled for Thursday night.
Melbourne's appeal will be on the grounds that “that the decision was so unreasonable, that no Tribunal acting reasonably could have come to that decision having regard to the evidence before it".
Viney said he was "shattered" and "disappointed" by the original verdict when he arrived for training at AAMI Park this morning.
"Obviously I'm disappointed with the decision and disappointed I won't be able to run out with the guys on Saturday night," he told afl.com.au
"The club's looking at appealing it, so there's actually not much I can say right now."
The Demons' football manager Josh Mahoney confirmed after the hearing on Tuesday night the club would "actively'' search for ways in which it could challenge the verdict at the appeals board. That would require either new evidence, or proof the decision was incorrect.
Richmond had better luck at the tribunal. Star Tiger midfielder Brett Deledio will be available to face Melbourne next week after his one-match ban was downgraded to a reprimand.
Mahoney said after the Viney hearing: "We're obviously disappointed, and we'll take this time to look at the options we've got in terms of an appeal. Because we're investigating that, Jack Viney can't speak on this occasion. We thought we presented a strong case. The decision by the tribunal tonight is what it is, but we're certainly looking at our options in regards to the next stage.''
Viney tweeted on Tuesday night: "Disappointing outcome tonight but I really appreciate everyone's support! Many kind messages. Don't stress Dees fans, I won't change.''
Hawthorn great Dermott Brereton was enraged about the suspension, declaring he was sufficiently "staggered'' and "disappointed'' to launch a mini-boycott of the AFL, to demonstrate his fury. "I can't withdraw from footy because I'm on contract, but ... I'm in the Hall of Fame and I love going to those functions. That can get stuffed this year,'' Brereton told SEN radio. "I'm not turning up to their [AFL's] functions. This is just fundamentally wrong.''
Unless the decision is successfully appealed, Viney will not be available for the Demons until round 11, directly after the club's bye.
I could've spun away if I had a bit more time I reckon . . . but there wasn't enough time to think about a complex manoeuvre like spinning around - Jack Viney
Mahoney said the Demons' strong belief Viney had acted properly was why coach Paul Roos had attended the hearing. The club unsuccessfully applied for him to give evidence on Viney's behalf. The Demons' football manager said the club's failure to win an appeal against a similarly contentious charge three years ago, relating to a sling tackle by Jack Trengove on Adelaide's Patrick Dangerfield, would not make it wary of challenging another tribunal verdict. "It's certainly just a case-by-case [basis],'' Mahoney said. "Our discussions now are on what basis this could be appealed, and we'll be certainly talking through that. We won't be doing an appeal for an appeal's sake. If we think there's some grounds there, we'll certainly look at taking it.''
Asked about possible wider implications from the decision on the way football is played, Mahoney replied: "All we can say at the moment is there was a decision made today ... I'd like to make some comments later on, when we [finish] talk about an appeal.''
Viney pleaded not guilty to the rough conduct charge, which was laid after Adelaide's Tom Lynch suffered a broken jaw that is expected to sideline him for six matches.
The Demon gave evidence that he felt he was in contention to win possession until half a second before the collision occurred, and it was only that, once he realised Lynch would get the ball ahead of him, that he began to brace for impact. "Not at any stage was I trying to bump him. I was purely trying to brace myself for impact,'' Viney said, explaining that Lynch and his opponent Alex Georgiou were coming at him "at full pelt'' from the opposite direction. Viney is only in his third season at Melbourne – in his first he was ineligible for senior football – but explained in that time he had suffered a broken jaw and three concussions. As a result, the club's coaching staff had taught him to protect himself more in contests. He disagreed with the contention of AFL counsel Jeff Gleeson, SC, that he could have avoided all contact with Lynch had he chosen to step the other way. "I could've spun away if I had a bit more time, I reckon ... but there wasn't enough time to think about a complex manoeuvre like spinning around,'' he said. "I was just trying to brace myself and not get injured.''
While Gleeson said Viney was courageous for putting himself in the path of two bigger oncoming opponents, he said that by choosing to bump Lynch "it was contact that he (Viney) made inevitable'', and urged the jury "if he chose to bump ... Mr Viney must be suspended''.
Viney's counsel Iain Findlay countered: "This happened in five-tenths of a second. What can a player do?''
The tribunal jury of Emmett Dunne, Wayne Schimmelbusch and Wayne Henwood took 19 minutes to determine that Viney had bumped Lynch and warranted punishment.
While a grading of the incident on a typical match review panel formula would have resulted in a three-match or four-match suspension for Viney, Gleeson recommended a ban of between one and three matches: partly because the direct referral to the tribunal meant he had no chance for a guilty-plea discount, partly because it was a "highly unusual'' incident.
"It was by no means a cheap-shot bump. He exposed himself to the risk of significant injury,'' Gleeson said.
The jury then decided on a grading of medium impact and that Viney should be slugged with a 200-point penalty, which meant two matches but no carry-over points.
In the later hearing, Richmond received a significant boost when Deledio had his one-match ban downgraded.
The downgrade was possible through a combination of the jury determining his strike to Geelong's Mathew Stokes was reckless rather than intentional, and a 25 per cent discount for his good record.
The conduct downgrade took his penalty from 225 points to 125, and the discount lowered it further to a reprimand and 93.75 carry-over points.
The decision means that Deledio, who was only one match into a return from a month sidelined by injury, will be available to face the Demons next week, after Richmond's bye this weekend.
"I'm very happy that I'm playing. That's all I need to say,'' Deledio said as he left the hearing.