Brisbane’s Cameron has one-game suspension thrown out

Alex Mitchell |

Lions forward Charlie Cameron will fight a one-game suspension at the AFL tribunal.
Lions forward Charlie Cameron will fight a one-game suspension at the AFL tribunal.

Brisbane star Charlie Cameron is free to face Geelong on Saturday after the AFL Tribunal used its discretion to turn his one-game suspension into a fine.

Cameron challenged the ban he initially received for a dumping tackle on Melbourne’s Jake Lever in Brisbane’s upset victory at the MCG.

On Tuesday night the tribunal dismissed his argument that the impact of the incident should have been graded as “low” rather than “medium”.

But the tribunal – led by chairman Jeff Gleeson – found exceptional and compelling circumstances to use its discretion to turn the ban into a fine, citing Cameron’s clean record throughout his 207-game career.

The verdict leaves Cameron free to face the Cats at the Gabba, where he will get to continue his streak of 123 consecutive games.

Gleeson said the incident was careless but at the lower end of seriousness, and noted Cameron had to complete the tackle in a rotating manner to avoid Lever – who is 20kg heavier than him – crushing him due to momentum.

Character references from Adelaide and Carlton champion Eddie Betts and an Indigenous elder also helped sway the tribunal, but they were most taken by his previous disciplinary record.

The tribunal also noted that Lever was uninjured in the incident.

“His 207 games suspension-free puts him in a very small minority … only 668 players of the 13,125 who have played the game at the elite level have played 200 games,” Gleeson said.

“Almost half of those have been suspended for one match or more. Mr Cameron is clearly in the unusual category in this regard.” 

Brisbane sought to have the impact grading lessened from medium to low, which would let Cameron escape with a fine, despite his guilty plea.

Cameron argued Lever’s momentum caused him to “lose control of the tackle”, but said he had added no extra force, while noting the Demon defender had an arm free to break his fall.

He pointed out that Lever threw his head up after it hit the ground, but said he was looking at the umpire for a free kick and it wasn’t the force of the tackle that had caused his head to bounce.

Tribunal counsel Sally Flynn said it was the potential to cause injury that warranted the medium grading, labelling the tackle “inherently dangerous”.

Lever’s “vulnerable” position, the angle and rotation of the tackle and the extent of the force were relied on to argue for medium impact.

Cameron looked back to his best as he slotted three goals in the Lions’ win against the Demons.

The Lions will now have the goalsneak’s services for Saturday night’s blockbuster with Geelong, when Brisbane will look to build on a two-game winning streak.

AAP