Cooney ban too low: AFL

AFL football operations boss Mark Evans says Adam Cooney should have been suspended for more than one week for his head-high hit on Stephen Coniglio.

But Evans has decided not to appeal the verdict after accepting legal advice that any such challenge would probably be unsuccessful.

Match review panel member Nathan Burke also believed Cooney should have been sidelined for at least two weeks after being charged with engaging in rough conduct against Coniglio in an incident which left the GWS star concussed.

The MRP referred the charge straight to the tribunal, denying Cooney the option of submitting an early guilty plea and a discounted sanction.

The tribunal still found the 2008 Brownlow medallist guilty on Tuesday night, but trimmed his ban from two weeks down to one because of a previous good record including no previous suspensions in a career spanning more than a decade and 230 AFL games.

“Few players would qualify for a record of no suspensions across 12 years but the AFL viewed this charge as a serious matter of rough conduct, given that Stephen Coniglio was concussed and could not continue in the match,” Evans said in a statement.

“The AFL’s legal advice was that the points of appeal relating to classification and/or sanction around manifestly excessive did not allow grounds for the AFL to appeal on the belief the penalty was too low.

“The AFL was further advised that it was open to the tribunal members last night to determine medium impact on the evidence and argument presented, albeit the AFL viewed the impact was high.

“It was also open to the tribunal members to consider the player’s record in exceptional and compelling circumstances, albeit again that the AFL viewed the incident worthy of a minimum two-game suspension with an early plea.”

Coniglio missed one day of training but was still hopeful of being fit to take the field for the Giants in Saturday’s must-win clash with Port Adelaide.

Burke said the MRP members also believed the incident warranted more than a one-week ban.

“But we can’t take into account what the player says or his record at any stage, we just have to look at the incident and the umpires’ report and the medical report,” Burke told Fox Sports.

” … when we took those three things into account we graded it as a serious incident but the tribunal has different evidence.

“I think if most people thought that he would miss two weeks that’s probably slightly on the light side but they would have been happy with that.”

Cooney will sit out Saturday’s game against Adelaide at Etihad Stadium.

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
Stay up to date with the latest sports news
Follow our social accounts to get exclusive content and all the latest sporting news!