Swans, Tigers to challenge bans as busy AFL tribunal night looms

Swans young gun floors Merrett | 00:28
Ben Waterworth from Fox Sports@bjwaterworth

A busy night at the AFL tribunal looms, with both Richmond and Sydney to challenge suspensions handed down to Marlion Pickett and James Rowbottom respectively.

The Tigers on Monday confirmed they’d take Pickett’s one-match ban for engaging in rough conduct with Hawthorn’s Dylan Moore to the tribunal.

Multiple outlets then reported the Swans would also challenge the suspension handed to James Rowbottom after his bump on Bombers star Zah Merrett.

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Pickett and Swan Rowbottom on Sunday night were handed one-week suspensions by Match Review Officer Michael Christian for their respective incidents from Saturday’s games.

Pickett’s bump was graded as careless conduct, medium impact and high contact, equating to a one-match sanction.

Rowbottom was also charged with engaging in rough conduct against Merrett, with the bump graded as careless conduct, medium impact and high contact, equating to a one-match sanction.

After Merrett fumbled a handball in the aftermath of a centre bounce during the second term, he briefly lent over in an attempt to pick up the ball before being met by Rowbottom.

The Swans midfielder ran towards Merrett and collected him high after electing to bump the Bombers on-baller, who stayed on the SCG turf for a few seconds before getting to his feet.

Even though Merrett was able to take his free kick and play on, the MRO hasn’t been afraid to upgrade incidents — based on the potential to cause injury — and hand out a suspension.

North Melbourne legend Wayne Carey told Channel 7 Rowbottom’s action was “a dangerous tactic”, while seven-time All-Australian Nathan Buckley suggested the Swan might be in trouble.

“There’s got to be something to answer for here,” Buckley told Fox Footy.

“I don’t reckon Rowbottom lined him up, but in the end he wasn’t at the football. That’s head-high contact.

“Merrett got up and continued to play the game, but ultimately with the rules as they stand, there’s a bit to look at there.”

The news was better for Pickett’s Tigers teammate Tom Lynch, who was cleared by the MRO for his contact on Hawk Jarman Impey.

The MRO statement read: “Lynch takes possession of the loose ball on the wing. Impey approaches to tackle from side on and high contact is made by Lynch on Impey. It was the view of the Match Review Officer that Lynch‘s actions were not unreasonable in the circumstances. No further action was taken.”

Geelong defender Jake Kolodjashnij was also cleared for his contact with Saint Jack Higgins. The MRO said the Cats backman made “body contact” with Higgins and that Kolodjashnij‘s actions “did not constitute a reportable offence”.