Successful appeal frees ‘Willy’ for AFL

The Western Bulldogs have had a major win at the VFL appeals board, reducing Will Minson’s four-game ban to a reprimand and fine.

It means Minson will return to their AFL team for Saturday’s match against GWS at Etihad Stadium.

The VFL tribunal hit Minson with a four-game ban on Tuesday for umpire contact.

It would have effectively meant a five-game suspension, given the VFL also has a bye in that period.

Minson has been out of the senior team since round three.

He is among six inclusions for the Bulldogs, who have lost their last three games.

The appeals board fined Minson $7500 as well as reprimanding him “in the most severe terms”.

Minson was sent off on Sunday for the umpire contact while playing for Footscray against North Ballarat.

He pushed field umpire Thomas Chrystie in the back when his goal was disallowed.

After not giving evidence at the tribunal, Minson testified at his appeal hearing.

He agreed with Chrystie that after the goal was ruled a touched behind, Minson said “are you f***ing kidding me?”

Minson then reached out and made contact with Chrystie, but said it was minimal.

“I reached out with my hand as I often do when I’m communicating and I made contact with the umpire,” he said.

“My only intention was to engage in conversation with umpire Chrystie.”

On Wednesday, the AFL Players Association weighed into the case, releasing a statement that described the four-match ban as entirely disproportionate.

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