West Coast coach Adam Simpson admits Wille Rioli's umpire bum tap wasn't a smart move, but he hopes the AFL will consider the human side of the game in deciding whether to sanction the Eagles forward.
The incident involving umpire Ray Chamberlain on Sunday has emerged as a talking point following West Coast's 11.9 (75) to 9.6 (60) win over Hawthorn at Etihad Stadium.
Rioli gave away a 50m penalty for dropping his knees into the back of a prone Blake Hardwick late in the first quarter, then gave Chamberlain a friendly pat on the backside while running back to his mark.
The AFL has taken a dim view on even the most innocuous umpire contact. Geelong's Tom Hawkins and Carlton's Ed Curnow were both referred directly to the tribunal and copped one-week bans for intentional umpire contact earlier this month.
Curnow's brother Charlie and Gold Coast co-captain Steven May received fines with their contact deemed to be careless rather than intentional.
AFL match review officer Michael Christian will deliver his findings on Monday afternoon, and Simpson hopes Rioli will be cleared.
"We want to respect the umpires and we want to make sure we acknowledge that touching them is a no-go," Simpson said.
"But there's a human part of it as well.
"I hope it doesn't go any further than that. In the environment we're in right now, it's probably not the right thing to do. But having said that, they're human and we want to try and make sure we engage these umps as much as we can on a positive note."
Rioli delivered one of the highlights of the game when he took a spectacular mark on the half-back flank, then helped set up a Mark LeCras goal with a silky-smooth pass.
The 22-year-old has proven to be a valuable addition for the ladder-leading Eagles this season, slotting nine goals and providing enormous defensive pressure.
"He was pretty special," Simpson said.
"We understand he's only a (nine)-game player in his second year but he's fitting in with our forward line really well. They're all playing their roles, we're spreading the load ... and Willie complements what we're doing there."