Hawkins gets one match for umpire contact

Tom Hawkins speaks as he leaves the tribunal.

Tom Hawkins issued a message of respect towards umpires after being banned for Sunday’s clash with Collingwood by the AFL Tribunal.

The veteran Geelong forward was suspended for making intentional contact with an umpire after pleading guilty for his brief “brush-off” of field umpire Dean Margetts in the Cats’ big win over Greater Western Sydney at GMHBA Stadium on Friday night.

Tribunal jury members Michael Jamison, Richard Loveridge and David Neitz took just three minutes to decide that they agreed with submissions from both AFL counsel Jeff Gleeson QC and Hawkins’ advocate Ben Ihle that a one-match ban was a fitting penalty for Hawkins’ indiscretion.

Touch and go: Tom Hawkins at the point of contact with the umpire.

The nature of the charge was such that the matter had to go straight to the tribunal.
Tribunal chairman Ross Howie directed the jury to take into account the “sacrosanct” role of the umpire in football.

Meanwhile, star West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui will wait until tonight to have his case heard.
Naitanui and the Eagles decided to challenge the ruckman’s one-match ban for engaging in rough conduct with Port Adelaide’s Karl Amon at Optus Stadium on Saturday.

Naitanui’s action in tackling Amon to the ground during the Eagles’ win was assessed as being careless, with medium impact to the head.

The case had initially been due to be held after the Hawkins last night, however the AFL agreed to a request from the Eagles for the hearing to be delayed because West Coast’s long-time legal counsel David Grace QC was interstate and couldn’t attend the hearing.

Naitanui, Port Adelaide’s Dougal Howard, North Melbourne’s Shaun Higgins, Sydney’s Jarrad McVeigh, Carlton’s Dale Thomas, Richmond’s Nick Vlastuin, St Kilda pair David Armitage and Jack Steele, Melbourne’s Nathan Jones and Brisbane’s Alex Witherden all accepted fines stemming from match review officer Michael Christian’s findings on last weekend’s games.

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