Jordan De Goey ban divides fans as 'shattered' Magpie speaks out

The three-game AFL ban imposed on Collingwood's Jordan de Goey has proved to be divisive among fans.

Jordan de Goey is pictured bumping Elijah Hewett on the left, and looking down in dismay on the right.
Jordan de Goey has been handed a three-game ban for his high bump on West Coast's Elijah Hewett. Pictures: Getty Images

Jordan de Goey will miss Collingwood's next three games after being suspended by the AFL Tribunal for his high hit on West Coast's Elijah Hewett, however the decision has led to accusations of inconsistency from league observers. The 27-year-old pleaded guilty to the charge, with the tribunal accepting that he was remorseful for the incident, which De Goey said left him 'shattered' upon realising Hewett had been taken out of the game due to concussion.

However the three-week ban was considered lenient by some, with comparisons made to the three-game ban imposed on Adelaide's Shane McAdam back in round one. McAdam copped a similarly lengthy ban for his hit on GWS Giants player Jacob Wehr, however in that case, Wehr passed a concussion test and was able to return to the game.

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A massive debate erupted over the consistency of Tribunal decision in the aftermath, with the likes of Gerard Healy and Kane Cornes believing De Goey was 'lucky' not to be sidelined further. AFL legend Leigh Matthews disagreed however, believing it was an appropriate penalty.

The Magpies will be without De Goey for their King's Birthday clash with Melbourne next week, as well as subsequent games against Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs. Tribunal chairman Jeff Gleeson said a three-match ban was an 'appropriate sanction' for what was an 'avoidable' head injury to Hewett.

Speaking to SEN, former Brownlow Medal winner Healy said there was no doubt that De Goey was 'lucky' not to be missing more time. He said the AFL needed to be careful not to 'reduce the harshness' of penalties for incidents that resulted in a concussion.

“I think he’s lucky, bottom line,” Healy said. “I don’t think it’s the time for the AFL to reduce the harshness with which they see those incidents.

“He walks away lucky. Clearly he was remorseful – and that’s played plenty of impact – but four, I think, would have been the appropriate sentence.”

Healy said there wouldn't be much point in the AFL appealing to increase the three-game ban to four, but added that in future, it would potentially be wise to increase the base sanction. The three-game ban imposed on De Goey was in line with guidelines for rough conduct deemed to be careless, high, and of severe impact.

He argued the league should 'up the ante' for similar incidents in future, suggesting a minimum penalty of four or possibly five matches. However former Brisbane Lions coach and Hawthorn legend Leigh Matthews said the Tribunal had gotten their decision right.

“When you look at these incidents and you think ‘how many weeks will they get, it’s really on precedent,” Matthews told 3AW. “Because the guy got seriously hurt, he got the three weeks.

“When I look at the bump, there are bumps that are blocks that turn into bumps and then you’ve got really heavy, throwing-your-body at the other player. I’m not positive whether De Goey was in that latter category.”

Jordan de Goey 'shattered' after learning of Elijah Hewett concussion

De Goey's remorse for the hit was a factor in his ban only extending to three weeks. The Collingwood star had attempted to apologise to Hewett after the game, later contacting him by phone.

It wasn’t until I looked up at the screen I realised I caught Elijah high,” De Goey told the Tribunal. “I felt shattered for him personally.

“I don’t go out there to play my footy in a dirty way and to see someone get injured like that was obviously disappointing and first and foremost you worried about the person, which was Elijah and then after just making sure he’s OK.”

Hewett was reportedly appreciative of De Goey's apology. He will have to sit out West Coast's clash with Adelaide this weekend under the AFL's concussion protocols.

Elijah Hewett is attended to by West Coast trainers after copping a high bump from Jordan de Goey.
West Coast's Elijah Hewett was left with a concussion after a high bump from Collingwood's Jordan de Goey. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

In handing down the sanction, the AFL Tribunal found that De Goey's remorse over the incident was 'genuine' and that his hit, while undoubtedly high, had come just a 'split-second' late. As bumps are generally categorised as a 'football act', De Goey's hit was classified as careless, rather than intentional, which would have attracted a much higher penalty.

St Kilda's Anthony Caminiti had a charge of intentional striking against Collingwood's Nathan Murphy downgraded to careless conduct earlier this season, successfully arguing that he hadn't intended to leave the Magpies defender with a concussion after the pair were jostling for position.

Richmond's Nathan Broad was handed a four-match ban for a dangerous tackle on Adelaide's Patrick Parnell. That decision also prompted some outcry in the AFL world.

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