North Melbourne hard nut Jack Ziebell is confident he won’t have a case to answer after the AFL match review panel assesses his heavy hit on Hawthorn’s Sam Mitchell.
Ziebell admits he had been fired up to set a physical tone early in Friday’s night’s fiery encounter, but maintains he hadn’t crossed the line when crunching Mitchell in a marking contest early in the first quarter at Etihad Stadium.
“The match review panel will deal with it … it’s out of my hands now,” Ziebell told ABC radio on Saturday.
“But I think I should be ok – I didn’t hit him high and Sam got straight up and played the game out with no worries.
“We’ll wait and see.”
Ziebell launched at Mitchell and appeared to make contact with the veteran’s shoulder-neck area, with the blow knocking him to the ground.
A heated push and shove ensued but Mitchell quickly left the scene to take his 50m penalty, which set up Isaac Smith for the first goal of the game which the Hawks went on to win by nine points.
The Kangaroos’ appeared determined not to take a backward step after Hawthorn roughed them up the last time they met, with that match also won by the Hawks, but resulting in skipper Luke Hodge and onballer Jordan Lewis being suspended.
Ziebell admitted the Roos’ fiery approach was premeditated.
“A little bit but that’s something that we’ve been working towards for a little while now,” he said.
“The week before against Geelong, we were beaten up around the contest, so that was something that we really wanted to address and get right this week.
“I thought the boys executed that side of the game really well throughout most of the game and it’s something we need to carry on throughout the rest of the season.”
Ziebell isn’t the only Roo facing a nervous wait.
The club was forced into an embarrassing backdown on Saturday, publicly apologising for coach Brad Scott’s extraordinary post-match broadside at the umpires, one of whom he mistakenly believed had called Lindsay Thomas a “ducker”.
The AFL is investigating the incident and appears likely to sanction Scott and possibly the club on Monday.