REECE Conca was yesterday offered a three-match suspension for his behind-play hit on North Melbourne onballer Leigh Adams, but the Richmond youngster will be available to play in the Tigers' round one side.
The AFL last night confirmed that the remaining three weeks of the pre-season - the two NAB Cup rounds and final weekend of practice matches - would cover the three-game ban, should Conca accept it.
He was cited after collecting Adams high and off the ball, contact the match review panel deemed as high contact and of high impact. The collision was rated reckless, rather than intentional, because the MRP determined Conca's motivation was to bump or block Adams, not make high contact.
Last December, one of five changes made to the MRP guidelines dictated that any striking action that occurred off the ball, during a break in play or with a raised elbow or forearm, would be classed as intentional, unless there was obvious evidence it was not.
Richmond is scheduled to play Fremantle and Geelong in its final two NAB Cup games, as well as a practice match on the weekend of the NAB Cup grand final, which the club is unlikely to make. Should the Tigers contest the suspension at the tribunal, Conca will risk missing four matches, including the opening round clash with Carlton.
The league this year decided suspensions could be served in all three weeks of the revised pre-season competition, given that the final round of practice matches will be used to determine final placings and prizemoney, which runs to the eighth-placed side.
Last year, players suspended during the NAB Cup, including North Melbourne forward Drew Petrie, had to wait until the start of the season proper to begin serving their bans.
Meanwhile, North forward Lindsay Thomas was offered a reprimand and 60 carry-over points for striking Conca in the opening game at Etihad Stadium last Friday night.