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Richmond's Ty Vickery suspended for four matches at AFL tribunal

Ty Vickery enters the tribunal on Tuesday.

Ty Vickery enters the tribunal on Tuesday. Photo: Getty Images

One of the most adversarial acts seen in an AFL match in recent seasons concluded with one of the most conciliatory tribunal hearings of recent times.

Richmond and its forward/ruckman Ty Vickery accepted the match review panel’s assessment that his high blow that knocked out West Coast’s Dean Cox last Friday night had been intentional and resulted in severe impact.

 Even the Tiger’s own counsel, Michael Tovey, QC, conceded the player had ‘‘overstepped the mark in a way that has been openly acknowledged by Ty Vickery ... as being unacceptable’’.

Once Vickery’s contrition and unqualified acceptance of the striking charge was established at the AFL tribunal hearing on Tuesday, the only issue was how many matches he would be penalised.

The tribunal jury of Wayne Henwood, Emmett Dunne and Wayne Schimmelbusch deliberated for just seven minutes before settling on a penalty of four matches and 95carry-over points, which was in line with the degree of penalty advocated by the legal representatives of both sides.

Vickery said after the hearing he was appreciative to have been given the opportunity – pending selection – to return for Richmond’s final match of the season against Sydney.

‘‘We’d accepted what they believed was fair so there was no need – that’s why I didn’t make a comment,’’ he said, explaining why he had not launched a defence at the hearing.

‘‘Obviously it happened on Friday night and it’s sort of dragged on until Tuesday, but I’m very happy we now have a conclusion to it. I’m able to train hard for the next four weeks and give myself a chance to potentially play in the last round.’’

While the actions of Vickery in the ruck duel with Cox had been subject to significant scrutiny since Friday night, presiding umpire Jeff Dalgleish told the tribunal he had no reason to change his view of why he had immediately reported Vickery.

 ‘‘Before the ball had come in [from a boundary throw-in], there was contact made by Vickery to Cox’s head,’’ Dalgleish said. ‘‘I think the footage explains it sufficiently.’’

The medical report from West Coast said Cox had been knocked out for about 30 seconds and had then struggled to communicate when he regained consciousness.

 The report confirmed Cox had been substituted on medical advice, based on the results of his concussion test.

Tovey argued the jury should consider the impact from Vickery’s blow to be ‘‘at the low end of severe’’. He also noted the ‘‘context’’ of the strike from Vickery, that it had been preceded by a blow to his midriff by Cox, which non-voting tribunal chairman David Jones acknowledged.

‘‘It does seem like a spur of the moment reaction, probably to something that happened shortly beforehand,’’ he said.

Jones’ recommendation for the jury to grant Vickery a discount on his base penalty, which was inflated by having 43.75 carry-over points, was accepted, on the basis the match review panel’s direct referral to the tribunal meant the 24-year-old had missed an opportunity to get a 25 per cent discount for pleading guilty.

Vickery said he now wanted to prove,  especially to his teammates, that he could play aggressively without overstepping the mark. He was happy the matter had been resolved.

‘‘I got a fair trial and a fair hearing in there, and that was the conclusion. We accept it,’’ he said.

‘‘Obviously there’s been a lot of spotlight on it from the media and the wider community, as there should have been. 

‘‘I’m just glad [it’s] over, and looking forward.’’

Vickery will miss matches against Greater Western Sydney, Essendon, Adelaide and StKilda. He will also be on the cusp of another suspension by being saddled with 95 carry-over points for the next 12months. And any subsequent disciplinary incident will attract a loading of 40 per cent, because he has been suspended for a total of six matches this year.

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