Mark Robinson explodes over 'low' act as James Sicily escapes AFL suspension

The Hawks star successfully appealed his ban for kicking an opponent.

AFL 360 co-host Mark Robinson has teed off on Hawthorn skipper James Sicily for kicking out at Essendon’s Andrew McGrath, during his side's round two loss to the Bombers. Robinson's spray came on Monday night before Sicily successfully appealed his one-game ban for kicking at Tuesday night's AFL tribunal.

Hawthorn convinced the tribunal that the impact of Sicily's kick should be low, rather than medium. It meant the one-game ban for the Hawks captain was downgraded to a fine, leaving him free to play against Melbourne at the MCG on Saturday afternoon. The All-Australian defender was fined $2500 after pleading guilty to the charge.

On the right is AFL 360 co-host Mark Robinson and Hawthorn captain James Sicily on the left.
An irate AFL 360 co-host Mark Robinson has described James Sicily's kick-out as 'one of the lowest' acts a player can do on a footy field. Pic: Getty/Fox Footy

Speaking about the incident on AFL 360 on Monday night, however, an irate Robinson said he couldn't understand why Sicily would fight the charge. The show's co-host described kicking an opponent as "one of the real low acts in football" and said Sicily's argument that he didn't kick McGrath hard didn't make it acceptable or give him grounds for an appeal.

“Who the hell do you think you are?” Robinson asked about Hawthorn's decision to challenge the suspension. “They shouldn’t challenge (the suspension). James Sicily deserves to get suspended for that. 'I didn’t kick him hard’, what sort of defence is that? It’s absolute rubbish.

“He kicked a person in a game of football... it’s always been seen as one of the real low acts in football. The AFL absolutely must stress that this is not on in the game.” Robinson's fury came after St Kilda champion Leigh Montagna said he didn't think the kick warranted a suspension, suggesting it had been blown out of proportion because of Sicily's reputation.

The Hawks' captain, who was last year banned for three games for rough conduct, was charged with kicking McGrath with intentional conduct, medium impact and body contact. “I don’t know if this is really worth a week,” Montagna said. “I think there’s a little bit of ‘James Sicily tax’ in that. It’s a sweeping little brush to his thigh, I don’t think that deserves a week. I think (it’s) because it’s James Sicily.”

Pictured centre, James Sicily walks off after Hawthorn's loss to Essendon in the AFL.
James Sicily (centre) walks off after Hawthorn's loss to Essendon in the AFL. Pic: Getty

James Sicily successfully appeals one-game ban

McGrath went into bat for his opponent, describing the incident as "pretty innocuous". Tribunal chairman Jeff Gleeson KC said the panel agreed with that and Hawthorn advocate Myles Tehan that the risk of injury from the kick was "relatively low". Tehan argued successfully there was "no sensible way" the Sicily kick should have the same impact grading as an incident last season when Geelong's Tom Atkins was charged with kicking St Kilda's Jimmy Webster.

That incident, which left Webster writhing in pain, was graded as medium and resulted in a fine for the Cats player. The medical report from Essendon presented to the tribunal backed up McGrath's comments about the incident on SEN.

"After every incident our club doctor calls us to see if there are any medical ramifications or any soreness, my report to him was that there's nothing - I've got no bruise, no nothing," McGrath told SEN on Monday. "Hopefully that stands up in the appeal, if there is one.


"It was pretty innocuous... I didn't even really realise that he put his foot into the back of me, which suggests how severe the kick was. Not very at all. But they're stamping that out of the game and we'll see where that lands."

Essendon's Mason Redman accepted his one-match penalty after being charged with striking Hawk Jai Newcombe in an off-the-ball incident during the same match. The contact was deemed as intentional, high contact with low impact, meaning Redman will be sidelined for the Bombers' showdown with the high-flying Swans at the SCG on Saturday night.

with AAP

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