Johnson free to play for Cats in AFL

Geelong star Steve Johnson is free to play this weekend after the AFL match review panel fined him $1500 for bumping Collingwood defender Nathan Brown off the ball during Friday night’s match.

Johnson has already received a $1000 rough conduct fine and a one-game striking ban this season.

Interestingly, an AFL tribunal system loophole means if the one-game ban earlier in the season was a fine, this latest fine would have ruled Johnson out of what could be his last game for the Cats.

Under the revamped tribunal system, if a player receives a third fine for certain offences in the same season, that automatically becomes a suspension.

Subsequently, if Johnson’s one-match suspension had instead been a fine, this latest incident would have earned him a ban for Geelong’s last game of the season.

So the only way he would be playing against Adelaide at Simonds Stadium this Saturday is if he had taken the case to Tuesday night’s tribunal and won.

There is speculation Johnson will not be at Geelong next season, although he wants to keep playing in the AFL.

The panel referred Essendon defender Courtenay Dempsey directly to the tribunal for his sling tackle on Richmond star Brett Deledio.

The incident was judged to be severe impact – the first such grading this season.

North Melbourne defender Shaun Atley was cleared for his sling tackle on Western Bulldogs forward Lachie Hunter.

Atley’s tackle was ruled as careless, but there was not enough force to warrant a charge.

James Kelly is another Cats premiership player who could leave the club after Saturday’s match.

He was offered a $1000 fine for striking Alex Fasolo.

Carlton forward Tom Bell and GWS onballer Adam Treloar can accept $1000 fines for wrestling each other and the same applies to Melbourne midfielder Jack Viney and Fremantle opponent Nick Suban.

Nine Gold Coast players and seven from Port Adelaide were offered $1000 fines for a half-time melee.

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