Brisbane’s Cameron Rayner fails at appeal hearing to overturn AFL ban


Even the famously hard cricket pitch area at the Gabba wasn’t enough to save Brisbane dynamo Cameron Rayner from escaping his one-game AFL ban.

In a massive blow for the Lions’ chances in their elimination final against Richmond on September 1, the rough conduct charge against Rayner was upheld following a marathon tribunal hearing on Tuesday night.

The tribunal panel deliberated for 35 minutes after lengthy debate between the AFL’s counsel Andrew Woods and Lions lawyer Adrian Anderson.

Rayner answered a barrage of questions, first from Anderson, before Woods, tribunal chairman Jeff Gleeson and tribunal panel member Stephen Jurica all had further queries.

The 2017 No.1 draft pick was reported for a strong tackle on Melbourne spearhead Ben Brown during the first quarter of Friday night’s game at the Gabba.

When reading out the verdict, Gleeson said it was an ‘‘inherently dangerous’’ tackle and upheld the match review officer’s assessment of the incident as careless, medium impact and high contact.

Rayner said he did his best in trying to wrap up Brown, who is more than 10 centimetres and 10 kilograms heavier than him.

Brown was assessed by medical staff off the ground after suffering abrasions to his face during the incident, but was able to come back and play a starring role in Melbourne’s thumping victory.

Anderson said Rayner did ‘‘nothing unreasonable’’ in tackling a player with Brown’s momentum, arguing the Demons full-forward tried to spin away from the Lions forward-midfielder.

‘‘Because it’s a cricket wicket it’s very hard in there,’’ Rayner told the tribunal.

‘‘If the tackle had happened anywhere else on the ground I’m not sure the abrasions would have happened.’’

Debate raged about the match review officer’s grading of the impact as medium, with the Lions arguing it should have been low.

The AFL’s lawyer suggested to Rayner he should have given more consideration to how hard the cricket pitch area is at the Gabba when tackling Brown.

‘‘In a split second during a game of footy I’m not thinking about what the surface is like,’’ Rayner replied.

The Gabba is one of the only remaining AFL grounds not to use a drop-in cricket wicket.

The Lions will also be without defender Noah Answerth after he accepted a one-game suspension for striking Melbourne’s Alex Neal-Bullen.

Brisbane is desperate to avoid another painful exit from finals after bowing out in straight sets during two of the past three seasons.

The Tigers, who have won three of the past five premierships, will regain superstar Dustin Martin for the trip to the Gabba after he missed the last seven games of the home-and-away season.


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