Magpies’ Dawes clear for AFL ANZAC blockbuster
Collingwood key forward Chris Dawes will play in Monday’s Anzac Day AFL clash against Essendon, after beating a a striking charge.
The 22-year-old won the right to play in the blockbuster match, when he convinced the tribunal on Tuesday night that his contact to the head of Richmond’s Reece Conca in last Friday night’s MCG clash was an accident.
The jury took less than five minutes to make their decision, after seeing footage of the incident and hearing Dawes’ explanation.
It is a significant win for the reigning premiers, who are unbeaten after four matches and on top of the ladder.
Premiership forward Dawes has kicked 11 goals in those four games, second only to fellow tall target Travis Cloke (12 goals) on Collingwood’s scorers’ list.
Dawes was charged with making contact with his left arm to Conca’s head, after arriving late at a ground-level contest for the ball.
The solidly-built forward swayed the jury with his argument that after sliding towards Conca on his knees and throwing out his arm in attempt to stop the Tiger from pushing the ball out, he was powerless to stop the collision.
“There’s no other way it could happen, because I’m a 105kg man sliding forward on my knees,” Dawes told the tribunal.
“I can’t pull my arm back because it’s coming forward with my momentum.”
Tribunal counsel Jeff Gleeson SC agreed that it was not an intentional act, but argued that it was “clumsy” and that Dawes had been negligent in his duty of care towards Conca.
But Dawes said he had always been confident.
“It was very much accidental, which I think it didn’t take long to discuss that in there, so it was pleasing to get through that,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to (Anzac Day), it’s always a big day, so it’s really exciting.”
Dawes has played in the traditional clash only once previously, kicking two goals in a 65-point win over the Bombers last season.
The tribunal success swings the odds even further in favour of Collingwood, who are also confident of regaining their No.1 ruckman Darren Jolly, who missed the Tigers clash with a knee injury.
That is in contrast to the Bombers, who have lost Courtenay Dempsey and Jason Winderlich to long-term knee injuries sustained in Saturday’s draw against Carlton.
Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich was also contesting a striking charge on Tuesday night, although he was risking only a reprimand, rather than a suspension.
Pavlich successfully had his charge of striking North Melbourne’s Liam Anthony downgraded from reckless to negligent.
With a reduction for his previous clean record, it meant he picked up only 45 demerit points, rather than 70.31, and remained eligible for the Brownlow Medal.
The only other charge laid was against Sydney’s Nick Smith, who agreed to pay a $900 fine for making contact with an umpire.© AAP 2013
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