Essendon's Michael Hurley and Sydney's Dan Hannebery after their collision on Friday night. Photo: Getty Images
If match review panel chairman Mark Fraser's view on how players should approach contests has remained steady over the past year, Sydney's Dan Hannebery is likely to be exonerated for his clash with Essendon's Michael Hurley.
Hannebery is sure to be scrutinised for a high blow to Hurley as they fought for possession that did not even result in a free-kick to the Bombers defender despite obvious high contact.
In round 12 last year Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge was exonerated for a collision that broke the jaw of Carlton's Marc Murphy, because Hodge was deemed to not have had a realistic alternative.
The collision between Hurley and Hannebery. Photo: Channel Seven
''There was an unfortunate high contact made … but he's approaching the footy in the right way,'' Fraser explained to the AFL website last year. ''He's executed it very well. He's got his hands on the ball so [it proves] he's going for the football, and he's turned his body side on to protect himself.''
In the case of Hannebery and Hurley, the Swans midfielder turned side-on and came very close to getting to the ball before Hurley, who had appeared more likely to gain possession.
Retired Swans midfielder Jude Bolton argued Hannebery's action was comparable to Hodge's last year, and that the focus should be on ''technique from Hurley's side … going head-first in''.
The incident between Hawk Luke Hodge and Carlton's Marc Murphy in 2013 in which Murphy's jaw was broken. Photo: Channel Seven
Hawthorn midfielder Brad Sewell was even stronger in Hannebery's defence, arguing players had a responsibility ''to protect yourself'' in contests, unlike what Hurley had done.
''You need to look after yourself. You can't leave yourself so open like that,'' Sewell told AFL Game Day.
While a consistent approach from the panel could help Hannebery it could hinder another player who could come in for attention, Steve Johnson, for making contact with his head.
Johnson and Fremantle's Ryan Crowley endured an ill-tempered duel on Saturday night. This included the Geelong midfielder-forward leaning sideways into Crowley with his head. Crowley reached to his mouth and Johnson rubbing his head afterwards.
A classification of reckless, low impact and high contact could ordinarily be reduced to a reprimand. However, Johnson has 71.87 carry-over points and a 30-per cent loading on the base penalty because he has been suspended for five matches over the preceding two-year period.
If Johnson was charged with the reckless conduct his penalty of 125 would be inflated to 234.37, a two-match ban. A guilty plea would cut that to one match and 75.78 carry-over points. If the panel instead imposed the lowest grading of negligent the penalty would be 175.87 points, or 131.9 after a guilty plea.
Melbourne forward Chris Dawes is likely to be assessed for a blow that felled Richmond's Alex Rance.
Round nine predictions
Malceski (Syd), first offence negligent umpire contact (to Troy Pannell). No charge, Malceski unaware umpire was in front of him.
Hannebery (Syd), rough conduct to Hurley (Ess). No charge; no realistic alternative.
Dawes (Melb), striking Rance (Rich). Negligent, low impact, high contact. 80 points (reprimand); 60 with guilty plea (reprimand).
Close (BL), forceful front-on contact to Gibson (NM). Negligent, low impact, high contact. 125 points (1 match); 93.75 with guilty plea (reprimand).
Clarke (Frem), striking Johnson (Geel). No charge; insufficient impact.
Johnson (Geel), misconduct head contact to Crowley (Fre). Reckless, low impact, high contact. 125 points up due to bad record to 162.5, up due to carry-over to 234.37 (2 matches); 175.78 with guilty plea (1 match).