Brownlow fancy Heeney’s nervous wait on MRO verdict

Murray Wenzel, Roger Vaughan and Justin Chadwick |

Sydney star Isaac Heeney’s Brownlow Medal hopes lie with the AFL’s match review officer while Adelaide’s Izak Rankine will also come under scrutiny for his bump gone wrong.

Michael Christian will deliver his verdict on Monday afternoon following the duo’s off-the-ball incidents in respective losses on Sunday.

Swans ace Heeney was the favourite to win the AFL’s best and fairest gong this season.

But he could be wiped from contention after a fend off on a stumbling Jimmy Webster caught the St Kilda defender in the face and drew blood from his nose.

Webster was on his haunches for a few seconds while Heeney was able to run clear, mark and goal before checking on his opponent.

High fends this season are deemed intentional, rather than careless, leading AFL Hall of Famer Leigh Matthews to tell Channel Nine, “you do the crime, you do the time”.

But Saints coach Ross Lyon did his best to vouch for the Swans star.

“He certainly didn’t mean to clock Webster, but he accidentally clips him in the head,” Lyon said.

“He’s a great player and certainly there was no intention.”

Rankine could be in trouble for his off-the-ball bump on Brandon Starcevich that resulted in the Lions defender being subbed out of the game with concussion.

Izak Rankine of the Crows
Crows star Izak Rankine could face a stint on the sidelines for a head-high bump against Brisbane. (Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS)

In a sad post-script, Rankine was racially abused on social media by a Brisbane Lions member.

Brisbane responded by cancelling that person’s membership.

Rankine was booed by Lions supporters following his bump on Starcevich, but both Brisbane and Adelaide released statements making it clear there was no tolerance for racial abuse.

“There is no place for racism of any kind in society and it is extremely sad and disappointing that we find ourselves dealing with yet another abhorrent attack on one of our players,” Crows chief executive Tim Silvers said.

“As an industry we have a collective responsibility to not only call out racism, but do everything we can to eradicate it, and we support Brisbane which has acted swiftly and decisively.

“It is also important we take the time to understand the hurt this behaviour causes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people because unfortunately, despite how far we have come in this space, the message is still not getting through.”

Brisbane have reported the comments to the AFL Integrity department for further investigation.