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The Roar


AFL News: Pendlebury learns fate for Neale whack, legend shares racist's vile slur at kids, Tigers star out

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29th March, 2024
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Collingwood veteran Scott Pendlebury has escaped suspension for his uncharacteristic off-the-ball whack on Brisbane Lions star Lachie Neale.

Neale was left doubled over in pain in Thursday night’s 20-point loss to the Magpies after receiving an open-handed but powerful slap to the mid-riff from Pendlebury.

The striking offence was graded as intentional conduct, low impact and body contact, drawing a $3750 fine.

That sanction will be reduced to $2500 if Pendlebury pleads guilty.

Speaking after the win over Brisbane, Pendlebury was sorry for his actions.

“The retaliator always gets caught, my mum taught me that. I got sucked in tonight,” he said.

The fine means Pendlebury is yet to be suspended in his 387-game AFL career, and frees him to play in next week’s Gather Round clash with Hawthorn.


Collingwood’s win on Thursday improved their record to 1-3.

Betts shares racist’s vile slur at kids

Carlton and Adelaide great Eddie Betts has shared vision of a racist appearing to drive past his house and yell racial slurs at his children and their friends.

The video shows the person repeatedly yelling the N-word from their car while the children played basketball.

Betts took to Instagram to decry the disgusting incident, hoping the person could be identified.

“Aboriginal kids deserve to be able to play safely, free from racism and abuse over the fence,” Betts wrote.

“We are not even safe in our own homes. If you know who this is please let me them know that I’m open to having a chat about how much this hurts our kids.”


Betts, who played 350 games and kicked 640 goals in a decorated career for the Blues and Crows, has been open about facing racism and discrimination throughout his life, detailing several incidents in his autobiography The Boy from Boomerang Crescent.

In the wake of past Hawthorn Indigenous players making shock allegations of racism against then-coach Alastair Clarkson and current Brisbane coach Chris Fagan in September 2022, Betts recounted a moment he was told to get out of a pool while playing with his children.

“I found out that two old white elderly people told the lifeguard to tell me to get out of the pool because I was making their grandchild uncomfortable,” Betts said on Fox Footy.

“And that just made me feel like I don’t belong here in Australia, because these issues keep occurring.”

Betts’ Instagram post has received a flood of support from around the football world, with the Western Bulldogs’ account posting a message in solidarity and fellow players including Melbourne star Christian Petracca and West Coast forward Liam Ryan also responding.


Eddie Betts (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Dusty out of Swans showdown

Richmond superstar Dustin Martin will miss the AFL round-three clash with Sydney as he manages a lingering calf issue.

The 32-year-old was named in the Tigers’ initial extended squad for Sunday’s game at the MCG, but has since been ruled out by coach Adem Yze.

“Dusty’s going to miss this week … he’s actually had an interrupted couple of weeks with his calf,” Yze told reporters on Friday morning.

“He didn’t train the other day and he’ll only do a little bit today, so we’ve got to just break the pattern of him getting through week to week.

“We’re going to break that cycle this week and give him a lighter week so that he’s pain-free.”


Martin copped a calf cork just four days out from Richmond’s season opener and sat out that clash with Damien Hardwick’s Gold Coast.

The three-time Norm Smith medallist returned the following week against Carlton, but managed just 16 disposals in both of the Tigers’ losses to the Blues and Port Adelaide.

“He’s just been battling a little bit the last couple of weeks with his calf and still trying to perform as he normally does,” Yze said.

“His first half last week was terrific, but you could see that he just gets a little bit sore, so we’re going to help him through that.”

The Tigers’ first-year coach expects Martin to be fit to return against St Kilda in Gather Round.


“We want a 100 per cent fit Dusty, so to do that we’ve got to break the cycle by giving him a lighter week this week so that he’s pain-free next week,” Yze said.

Richmond (0-3) are chasing their first win of the season against unbeaten Sydney (3-0) and could be bolstered by the return of premiership defender Nathan Broad, who missed last week with a calf issue.

Tyler Young (concussion) and Maurice Rioli (back) are also in contention to return, while Sam Naismith could be called up to help Toby Nankervis in the ruck against Brodie Grundy.

Tyler Sonsie was named in the Tigers’ extended squad and could make his first AFL appearance since serving a three-match ban for an ugly off-the-ball strike in a VFL game last year.

Dustin Martin

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

‘Won’t be pushing the panic button’: Fagan calls on players to lift as Lions’ slump continues

It’s not panic stations yet for Chris Fagan but the Brisbane Lions coach admits he has key players out of form and no obvious answer to their struggles after a third-straight loss to begin the AFL season.


The Lions were beaten by 20 points in Thursday’s grand final replay with Collingwood, their second defeat in as many games as their traditional Gabba fortress this season.

Lachie Neale had a game-high 35 disposals despite tweaking his ankle and also copping a stiff open palm to the chest from Scott Pendlebury, who could face scrutiny in a 387-game career that’s so far without suspension.

Fagan lamented dropped marks, too many handballs and an inability to convert an inside-50 count 56-43 in their favour as the coach was again left to stare at a statistics sheet with plenty of positives.

“That’s consistency, isn’t it? There’s a lot of green on this stat sheet and that’s been the frustrating thing about it,” he said.

“Normally when we win inside-50s we win, but for some reason or other we’re not.

“The answer’s not obvious.”


Brisbane haven’t lost three consecutive regular-season games since 2018, when they started their campaign with eight straight losses.

Unbeaten at the Gabba last season, Fagan admitted they were in a “little slump” and it was his job to help his players rediscover their magic.

“Some of our players are not at their best at the moment; I can’t explain to you why,” he said.

“That’s sport for you. 

“It’s a good challenge. You talk to them about what they’re good at, reinforce that.

“Form comes and goes. So it’s just positivity, but honesty as well. They’ve been good players, we won’t be pushing the panic button.

“I’ve trusted them a long time and they’ve delivered, so I’m not going to jump off them just because we’ve lost three in a row.”


The Lions play North Melbourne in Adelaide next week before facing Melbourne at the MCG, Geelong at the Gabba and GWS in Canberra.

“There’s 20 (rounds) to go, isn’t there? A long way to go,” he said.

“We’ve got a bit of work to do, to find ourselves.

“You’re making it sound like we’re 0-13. It’s not a great start, but let’s not catastrophise it either, would be the way I’d look at it.

“I don’t want to buy into that just yet.”


Beveridge confirms lost Dog’s return for Eagles clash


Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge hasn’t felt the need to mention last year’s devastating loss to West Coast in the build-up to their AFL round-three encounter with the same foe.

A stigma, he believes, lingers in his players’ minds and will drive the Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on Sunday as they seek to enter positive win-loss territory for the first time this season.

Beveridge’s men are yet to completely move on from the seven-point defeat to the wooden-spoon Eagles in round 23 last year, which ultimately cost the Dogs a finals spot.

The Bulldogs beat Geelong the following week, but missed the top eight by half a game.

“It left a pretty bad taste in everyone’s mouth,” Beveridge told reporters on Friday morning.

“They were pretty good that day, the Eagles, but equally we lowered our colours in an important game on our journey last year.

“In preparation for this game, we haven’t even talked about it, but I just know that it’s in the players’ subconscious.


“The guys who did (play in that game), I know they’ll be feeling that there’s a stigma attached to what happened last year.

“I think there’ll be some kind of response there.”

Beveridge confirmed triple All-Australian midfielder Jack Macrae will return against West Coast after his monster game in the VFL last week.

Macrae had 47 disposals and 17 clearances against the Giants and will return in a midfield role, with the Bulldogs losing Ed Richards (concussion) and Nick Coffield (shoulder) to injuries.

Beveridge said Macrae will be in the starting 22, rather than filling the substitute role, after a delayed start to the season because of a hamstring injury and loading issue with his femur.

Jackson Macrae of the Bulldogs looks to handball

(Photo by Steve Bell/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

“He trained extremely hard in the off-season – he worked himself a bit too hard – and it was just a matter of getting his match practice up to a stage where he’s totally ready at AFL level,” Beveridge said.


“Off last week’s performance, we believe he is ready to come in. It’s as simple as that.”

The Bulldogs (1-1) are looking to build on their round-two win over Gold Coast in Ballarat when they run out on their regular home ground for the first time this season on Sunday.

They can’t afford to be complacent against a West Coast outfit that sits in familiar territory – bottom of the ladder after successive defeats to open the new campaign, with a percentage of less than 50.