Adelaide’s McAdam has three-game ban appeal dismissed

Alex Mitchell and Steve Larkin |

Adelaide forward Shane McAdam has failed in his bid to overturn a three-game ban for his brutal bump on GWS defender Jacob Wehr.

The AFL appeals board rejected his legal team’s argument the penalty was “arbitrary” and the tribunal hadn’t used a trigger clause to escalate his sanction correctly.

McAdam will now miss games against Richmond, Port Adelaide and Fremantle, despite Wehr passing a concussion test and returning to the game.

He’ll miss longer than Melbourne’s Kysaiah Pickett for his similar bump on Western Bulldog Bailey Smith, despite Pickett making direct contact with his opponent’s head.

His lawyer, Tom Duggan, took issue with the use of the ‘potential to cause serious injury’ clause, which allowed the impact of the bump to be graded as severe rather than low.

He questioned why that incident was graded as high contact rather than severe despite Pickett making contact with Smith’s head.

Smith was not injured in the incident and also played out the match.

“It just shows the problem … same round, a situation where direct contact is made with the head and it’s graded as high,” Duggan said.

“Why isn’t it regarded as severe … it becomes an arbitrary exercise.”

Duggan argued the ‘potential injury’ clause is better used in incidents where direct head contact is made, like a punch or in Pickett’s bump.

“He actually makes contact with him in the head and Smith remarkably picks himself up,” he said.

“You can call that the ‘iron jaw’ example; notwithstanding the impact the player has somehow escaped injury.”

AFL lawyer Nick Pane said McAdam’s appeal only focused on the head impact and ignored the hit to Wehr’s chest, saying they’d ignored the overall potential of the bump.

The appeals board found the tribunal had made no errors of law, adding it was “inevitable” they would find potential for injury given McAdam’s decision to bump rather than tackle.

Adelaide had named McAdam in their side for their clash with the Tigers, but will now be replaced by one of their emergencies.

Coaches remain adamant the McAdam and Pickett suspensions, and a one-game ban to Sydney’s Lance Franklin for a high hit, confirmed the end of using the bump.

“The bump is well and truly done,” Carlton coach Michael Voss said.

“… If you have got a choice to tackle or bump, then you’ve got no choice but to choose the tackle.”

Geelong’s premiership coach Chris Scott agreed.

“Anything that looks like you’re trying to pick off an opposition player is the game of yesterday. That’s gone,” he said.