Patrick Dangerfield has likened the scrutiny surrounding his AFL Tribunal appearance on Tuesday to being 'on trial for murder'.
The Geelong Cats star was handed a three-week ban by the AFL Tribunal for his bump on Adelaide's Jake Kelly, who was left with a concussion and broken nose after Dangerfield clashed heads with him during the Crows' round one upset.
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Dangerfield was sent straight to the tribunal for the hit, with his most recent suspension in 2017 over a dangerous tackle.
With pressure already mounting on the Cats after their loss to last season's wooden spooners, Dangerfield said it had been a 'confronting' few days.
“It’s hard to shut off from it. You feel like you’re on trial for murder,” Dangerfield told SEN.
“It’s an eye-opener for someone who hasn’t been through (that sort of scrutiny) before.
“Timing’s everything in round one; when there isn’t too many other stories, it was big. It was definitely confronting.”
Dangerfield also said he'd checked in with Kelly, a former roommate and teammate from his Adelaide Crows days.
The 30-year-old said he would accept the decision of the Tribunal.
“I lived with Jake for a few years, I know him and his family quite well,” he said.
“It’s always distressing when you see a player concussed or hurt and it gets increasingly worse than when you know the person.”
AFL match review officer Michael Christian classified Saturday's incident at the Adelaide Oval as careless conduct, severe impact and high contact.
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Geelong's lawyer Ben Ihle cited numerous "worse" examples of severe impact and argued Dangerfield employed a "good bumping technique".
Ihle even asked Apple's virtual assistant Siri for a definition of severe, as well as bringing up two dictionary definitions, before relaying that to the tribunal jury.
"(Dangerfield) accepts that the conduct constituted a reportable offence but does not accept the grading of severe," Ihle told the tribunal.
"If there had not been a head clash, he would not have been reported."
The AFL's legal counsel Jeff Gleeson argued Kelly had no reason to expect the bump would be so forceful and believed the Crows player could have suffered even greater injuries.
"It could have resulted in neck damage and cheekbone damage," Gleeson told the tribunal, which agreed with his recommendation of a three-game ban.
Dangerfield's absence will be significant as the Cats aim to rebound on Friday night at GMHBA Stadium against the Lions, who are also reeling from a shock round-one loss.
The suspension also means the 2016 Brownlow Medal winner is ineligible for the game's most prestigious individual award this year.
Geelong coach Chris Scott said Dangerfield was suffering from a "sore head" after Saturday's collision with Kelly.
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