St Kilda sensation Anthony Caminiti will be at the mercy of the AFL tribunal as he prepares to face a lengthy ban for his off-the-ball hit that concussed Collingwood’s Nathan Murphy.
- St Kilda forward Anthony Caminiti will go straight to the tribunal as the AFL pushes for a four-week ban
- Geelong has confirmed Tyson Stengle and Rhys Stanley will be out for the “medium term” with injury
- Sydney coach John Longmire said there was no time line on Paddy McCartin’s return from concussion
The tribunal is set for a potentially bumper night, with Essendon skipper Zach Merrett to fight his one-match ban in a bid to play the Anzac Day blockbuster against Collingwood.
Collingwood vice-captain Taylor Adams and GWS gun Tom Green could also be involved if they decide to challenge their one-match suspensions for dangerous tackles on St Kilda’s Seb Ross and Hawthorn’s Josh Ward respectively.
The AFL is set to push for a ban of at least four weeks for first-year forward Caminiti after match review officer Michael Christian assessed his striking charge on Murphy as intentional conduct, severe impact and high contact.
The grading triggers an automatic tribunal hearing.
Vision shows Murphy forcefully pushing Caminiti in the chest during the final quarter and the Saints forward responding with a raised forearm that felled his opponent.
Murphy, who later had words with the Saints contingent on the boundary line, will miss the April 25 clash with Essendon as a result of his concussion.
Merrett elected to challenge his one-match ban for rough conduct over a dangerous tackle on Melbourne’s Tom Sparrow.
The tackle was graded as careless conduct, medium impact and high contact, as were Green and Adams’s respective incidents.
Dangerous tackles have come under scrutiny early in the season.
Last week, Hawthorn midfielder Will Day (two matches) and Geelong forward Gary Rohan (one match) were banned for dangerous tackles.
Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew and Sydney counterpart John Longmire said they had told their players to refrain from taking their opponent to ground in tackles.
“It’s almost at that point, isn’t it, that if you choose to take a player to ground, if they hit their head, you’re putting yourself at risk,” Dew told Fox Footy.
“Which I think, by the way, is the right way to go. I think we need to protect the head as much as possible.
“So I think we do need to adjust our coaching, and there’s far too many [dangerous tackles] in the first five rounds.”
Longmire added he had been part of an AFL forum several years ago where dangerous tackles were addressed.
“It was pretty clear from a coaching perspective, what we can do is tell our players in those situations when you can, is not take them to ground,” he said.
Cats lose two stars as Eagles crisis deepens
Geelong’s return to form has been soured by confirmation premiership stars Tyson Stengle and Rhys Stanley will undergo surgery that will put them out of action for several weeks.
Scans have confirmed All-Australian goal-sneak Stengle fractured his left arm and ruckman Stanley fractured his right eye socket during Sunday’s win over West Coast.
Both will undergo surgery this week, with the club expecting them to be sidelined “for the medium term”.
“There’s not a team out there that won’t have to endure these issues,” Cats coach Chris Scott said after Sunday’s 47-point victory.
“It’s part of the trick, I guess, over a long season where the competition is just so even and every game is potentially really challenging. The depth of your squad becomes a really important factor.”
After starting the season 0-3, Geelong have bounced back with convincing victories over Hawthorn and the Eagles.
They host Sydney at Kardinia Park on Saturday night in the two sides’ first meeting since last year’s grand final.
West Coast’s injury crisis deepened at the weekend, with star veteran Elliot Yeo (groin) and first-year midfielder Elijah Hewett (ankle) both sent off for scans.
Yeo, who battled osteitis pubis in 2020 and 2021, was unable to play out the loss to Geelong after injuring his groin.
Hewett suffered an ankle injury in the opening moments of West Coast’s WAFL hit-out on the weekend.
Defender Harry Edwards (fractured wrist), Isiah Winder (knee) and Tom Cole (ankle) were also added to the club’s lengthy injury list last week.
They join experienced players Jeremy McGovern (hamstring), Jamie Cripps (ankle), Liam Ryan (hamstring) and Nic Naitanui (Achilles) on the sidelines.
Campbell Chesser (knee), Dom Sheed (throat) and Jack Williams (spleen) are also unavailable, but skipper Luke Shuey (hamstring) and ruckman Callum Jamieson (ankle) could return for Saturday’s clash with Port Adelaide.
Dockers forward Sam Switkowski has been ruled out of Friday night’s clash with the Western Bulldogs in Perth after injuring his calf in last week’s win over Gold Coast.
Fremantle expect Switkowski to miss two games.
There are still no return dates set for Nat Fyfe (foot) and Matt Taberner (back).
The Dockers expect Taberner to be out of action for the “medium term”.
No time line on McCartin return
Paddy McCartin’s symptoms from his 10th concussion are starting to pass but coach Longmire insists Sydney will not be putting any time line on the luckless defender’s recovery.
McCartin is sidelined indefinitely after being concussed against Port Adelaide on April 8, when he required assistance walking from the field after his head made contact with the SCG turf.
Younger brother Tom was also concussed during that game and will miss a second-consecutive match, Saturday’s grand final rematch with Geelong, while Lance Franklin (knee) and Dane Rampe (neck) are unlikely to return.
Paddy McCartin, 26, suffered nine previous concussions, including eight at St Kilda that put his career on hiatus in 2019, before making a brilliant return at Sydney last season.
When asked how Sydney would put a time line on McCartin’s recovery process, Longmire said: “It’s very simple — you don’t.”
“It’s got nothing to do with the time line, it’s got everything to do (with) his health and returning to making sure that he’s feeling really good,” Longmire said.
“Football’s very much not discussed in what we’re talking about with Paddy at the moment. It’s just making sure that he gets back to full health as soon as he can
“While some people outside might want to know time lines, it’s best not to talk about that.
“We’ve had some advice that you need to just focus on getting Paddy back and feeling good and that’s the only thing that we’ll discuss and keep focusing on.”
McCartin’s symptoms are easing and he has been at Sydney’s headquarters.
“Paddy’s in at training every day. He’s not doing any training as such but he’s been in here every day,” Longmire said.
“We’ve been catching up and chatting and just a matter of making sure that he’s OK, sitting down with him and hopefully starting to feel better day by day, which he is, and that’s the main part that we’re mindful of.
“They’re (the symptoms are) starting to [pass], certainly improving all the time. He was certainly a lot better today than what he was four or five days ago
“He’s starting to feel better about himself. He was in the meetings today and getting around the place and had a smile on his face and really looking forward to being a part of the boys and enjoying being around the club, which is terrific.”
Longmire insisted Paddy McCartin’s history did not affect how Sydney managed Tom.
“They’ll be treated differently. They’re different people, clearly, so they’ll be treated as per their symptoms accordingly,” he said.
“Unfortunately Tom wasn’t able to be feeling good enough to be able to get through the protocols, so he’ll miss another week.”