Rory Sloane will miss Adelaide’s finals-shaping AFL clash with West Coast unless he successfully challenges a rough conduct charge.
The tough-tackling midfielder, who’s been a key part of the Crows’ surge to the top two, will also miss out on the chance to claim a Brownlow Medal without a successful appeal at the tribunal.
The match review panel handed Sloane a two-week suspension for an ugly spoil on Port Adelaide’s Brad Ebert in their Showdown clash on Saturday.
The ban will be reduced to one week if the 26-year-old takes an early guilty plea.
A suspension will end his chances of becoming only the second Adelaide player to win the Brownlow.
As recently as last week, Sloane was on the third line of betting for the prize, behind former teammate Patrick Dangerfield and Richmond’s Dustin Martin.
Adelaide will sit on top of the ladder with a victory on Friday night, and is likely to claim the minor premiership if Sydney lose to Richmond on Saturday.
A Crows loss could drop the club out of the top four, making a premiership tilt much less likely.
If Sloane takes the charge to the tribunal and loses, he will also sit out their first final.
Hawthorn were spared a similar fate before their must-win round 23 clash with Collingwood, with Jordan Lewis free to play.
Lewis punched ruckman Scott Lycett in the face after his swing ricocheted off the West Coast player’s bicep onto his jaw.
The match review panel won’t take further action because “the force used was below that required to constitute a reportable offence”.
Heath Grundy was also served with a rough conduct charge, but can pay a $1000 fine to play against the Tigers.