Date: May 08 2012
DAVID Wojcinski's unblemished disciplinary record stretching beyond a decade in the AFL will not guarantee leniency when he faces the VFL tribunal tonight on a rough conduct charge.
Wojcinski is in his 13th season with the Cats and has never been charged, a record that would enshrine a discount of 25 per cent on any penalty for any breach committed in an AFL match.
In the VFL, however, it is customary but not compulsory for the tribunal to offer a discount for good behaviour.
Wojcinski has been cited for a bump that broke the jaw of feted teenager Jack Viney, who was playing his first VFL match for Casey Scorpions in preparation for his father-son drafting by Melbourne later this year.
Viney had just received a handball on the half-back flank when Wojcinski floored him with a bump while coming from almost the opposite direction. Contact to Viney's jaw seemingly came from the right shoulder of the oncoming Wojcinski, who did not attempt to tackle Viney.
A few hours later, Melbourne coach Mark Neeld, who was at Simonds Stadium in preparation for the AFL match between the Cats and Demons that followed, barely concealed his anger when asked about the incident and the consequence of it — jaw surgery for Viney.
The incident was cited under the VFL's trial-by-video policy. It has been deemed serious enough to be referred to the tribunal, unlike an incident earlier in the match where Wojcinski was offered — and accepted — a one-match ban for striking Viney that also stands at AFL level.
While AFL tribunal penalties are primarily based on the set-penalty system used by the match review panel the VFL's penalties are subjective.
Had the Wojcinski incident occurred at AFL level it is likely he would have received a base penalty of either four or five matches, depending on whether his conduct was deemed negligent or reckless. On either classification Wojcinski's penalty would be reduced by one match for good behaviour, and then another match if he made an early guilty plea.
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