Geelong will be without key forward Tom Hawkins for Friday night’s blockbuster AFL preliminary final against Richmond after he was banned for one match by the tribunal.
- Tom Hawkins argued the contact he made with Will Schofield was careless and not intentional
- AFL legal counsel Nick Pane QC argued Hawkins’s contact was a “forceful swinging motion”
- The tribunal took seven minutes to uphold the original ruling, which was Hawkins had made intentional contact
Hawkins failed to have a striking charge downgraded from intentional to careless contact at his tribunal hearing in Melbourne this evening.
The two-time premiership winner was cited for swinging at West Coast’s Will Schofield and catching the defender high during the Cats’ 20-point semi-final win at the MCG last Friday night.
After a one-hour tribunal hearing, the three-man jury took just seven minutes to uphold the original penalty offered by the match review panel.
Hawkins will be available for selection should the Cats advance to the grand final with a win over the Tigers at the MCG.
“I felt like we got a really fair hearing,” Hawkins said.
“I’m really disappointed that I’m not going to be there with my teammates on Friday night, however my job now turns to supporting them as best as I can.
“I’ll lend a hand where I can and prepare myself to play the next week.”
Hawkins pleaded guilty at the start of the hearing.
Had he succeeded in having the charge downgraded it would have lessened the penalty from a one-match suspension to a fine and freed the All-Australian forward to play against the Tigers.
Hawkins testified he was fighting for position with opponent Will Schofield when he collected the Eagles defender with a high blow.
Schofield went to ground and was dazed by the impact, but played out the game. The Eagles’ medical report said he had suffered no ongoing injury from the impact.
“I didn’t intentionally hit him, I was trying to fight for best position, to get back where the football was coming from,” Hawkins testified.
Hawkins said Schofield was restricting him, holding his arm, and that he hit the West Coast defender as he tried to break clear.
He said his forearm and elbow collected Schofield’s neck.
Geelong advocate Ben Ihle said the video footage was inconclusive and added the burden of proof was with the AFL to convince the jury that the strike was intentional.
But tribunal advocate Nick Pane QC pointed to Hawkins having a clenched fist immediately before the blow and argued it was a roundhouse motion.
“It was a forceful swinging motion, consistent with an intentional strike,” Pane said.