The bump that’s left Brisbane defender Rhys Mathieson needing surgery has cost GWS star Jeremy Cameron a four-week AFL suspension.
The tribunal jury took five minutes to decide on the heavy penalty after Cameron pleaded guilty at Tuesday’s hearing.
The Giants’ key forward was referred directly to the tribunal, with no option of an early plea, after his bump left Mathieson with a fractured cheekbone.
Cameron attended the hearing.
Mathieson underwent surgery on Tuesday and tribunal advocate Jeff Gleeson told the hearing the Lions defender would be out of action for six weeks.
Gleeson said Cameron’s guilty plea was legitimate and genuine, while player advocate Tony Burns said anything more than a three-week suspension would be manifestly excessive.
Gleeson also had submitted that Cameron’s base sanction – before any potential allowance for the guilty plea – should be four weeks.
But given the case was referred directly to the tribunal, it was up to the three-man jury to decide the penalty.
Former AFL players Wayne Henwood, Richard Loveridge and Stewart Loewe opted for the four-game ban.
The tribunal did not say whether that penalty included a one-game discount for Cameron’s guilty plea.
The match review panel had graded the rough conduct charge as careless with severe impact to the head.
“Obviously, I accept the sanction they handed down to me – I just hope Rhys Mathieson is okay and I just want to move on with my season now,” Cameron said after the hearing.
Asked about whether he might receive a lesser penalty, Cameron said: “we weren’t sure – we just wanted to go in there, sit down, plead my case and go from there.
“I just want to move on with my season now.”
Cameron did not reply when asked if he thought he had received a fair hearing.
The Giants’ star said he asked Mathieson twice immediately after the bump if he was okay.
Cameron also sent Mathieson a text message straight after the match.
“He responded ‘it’s another day at the office, don’t worry’,” Cameron said.
“There was definitely no malice involved at all.”
Cameron said in his evidence that he originally was going to tackle Mathieson, but was drawn in and then the Lions’ defender handballed.
Cameron said he had no alternative to bracing for contact.
While he drew up his left knee, Cameron insisted his right foot did not leave the ground until after the impact.
“If I took that foot off the ground, I know as a player I can get into strife.
Earlier on Tuesday, all other players charged from the last round of NAB Challenge matches took early pleas.