Jetta's suspension upheld

The AFL tribunal has upheld Leroy Jetta's one-game suspension after finding him guilty of striking.

The three-man jury only needed one minute of deliberation yesterday to dole out some more bad news for Jetta who on Monday suffered the embarrassment of becoming the first AFL player to be charged with staging.

Jetta received no more than a written reprimand for the staging incident because it was his first offence and the Bombers decided against challenging that charge as well.

''Clearly there have been a lot worse examples [of staging] in recent weeks,'' Essendon football manager Paul Hamilton said. ''From our point of view, we weren't going to fight a charge like that.

''The AFL have to make a stand at some stage, so we understand that - that's why we haven't appealed it.''

Footage of the incident that led to Jetta's suspension showed Richmond defender Dylan Grimes doubling over and dropped to the ground after the Bombers' small forward made contact with his midriff.


Asked after the hearing if he thought Grimes could also have been booked for staging, Hamilton laughed and replied: ''I'd better not get into that whole staging debate.''

Essendon argued the contact was negligible, rather than low and Jetta said in his evidence that it was ''very minimal''.

''I thought there wasn't any force at all and I was surprised with how he [Grimes] reacted to it,'' Jetta said.

Essendon advocate Dermot Dann said the tribunal should be ''very careful'' about what weight it put on Grimes's reaction to the blow.

But the extremely quick deliberation indicated the jury had no doubt at all about Jetta's guilt.

■ MELBOURNE co-captain Jack Grimes has blamed the club's woeful season start on patchy effort and a slower-than-expected pick-up of their new game plan.

But he is adamant coach Mark Neeld has the team's full support and the decision to make himself and 20-year-old Jack Trengove joint skippers has not upset senior players.

Yet to win a match under Neeld, the bottom-placed Demons slumped to a new low with Saturday's 101-point loss to Sydney at the SCG.

Grimes said that performance was particularly galling, because he had believed they were making progress and were well placed for a breakthrough win.

''That was probably the most disappointing thing, that we went into the game so positively and had that terrible result,'' Grimes said yesterday. AAP