Several high-profile former AFL players believe Geelong star Tom Hawkins was lucky to leave the Tribunal with a one-match ban for his hit on West Coast’s Will Schofield.
Geelong challenged Hawkins’ ban at the judiciary on Monday night in an effort to have him available for their preliminary final against Richmond on Friday night.
Hawkins was charged with striking by Match Review Officer Michael Christian, who graded his hit on Schofield as ‘low impact’.
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The Cats were unsuccessful in their bid to reduce the sanction to a fine, but the likes of Gerard Healy and Swans premiership coach Paul Roos believe Hawkins was incredibly lucky to walk away with only a week’s punishment.
Speaking on Fox Footy program On The Couch, Hawkins’ hit was compared to Eagles star Andrew Gaff’s off the ball punch to Fremantle’s Angus Brayshaw last season.
Gaff’s hit, which shocked the AFL, left Brayshaw with a broken jaw and led to an eight-game ban for the Eagles star.
Healy said it was ‘ridiculous’ that Hawkins’ hit was graded as low impact, considering it left Schofield with ‘moderate’ pain in his temple.
Hawkins was quizzed by the AFL’s legal counsel as to why he had a clenched fist when he was trying to separate himself from Schofield, with the Tribunal taking less than 10 minutes to toss out the challenge.
For Healy and co however, the result was far from adequate.
“It seems amazing that they’ve gone for one week and there hasn’t been an appeal by the AFL,” Healy said.
“To me the AFL should’ve almost been appealing Michael Christian because of the disparity between eight weeks for Andrew Gaff and one week for a similar thing but didn’t quite do the damage.”
Tom Hawkins has failed to overturn his 1 match ban at the tribunal. He will miss Friday night’s Preliminary Final against the Tigers.— FOX FOOTY (@FOXFOOTY) September 16, 2019
“Tom swung an arm & hit him in the head. He had to go.” – Robbo
“On first viewing you knew he was going to get suspended." – Gerard#AFL360
Roos was in agreement about the Gaff comparison, arguing that if Hawkins had landed his hit at a local football game it would have caused outrage and likely resulted in a stiffer penalty.
“We know Brayshaw broke his teeth, but there’s no way known that’s one to eight (weeks difference),” Roos said.
“If we see that action at a local football game, we go ‘well that’s four or five weeks’. But we’ve become so conditioned to Michael Christian looking at the outcome of the incident.”
Melbourne Demons great Garry Lyon added that, since the hit happened so far off the ball, with Geelong not even in possession, that it was ‘farcical’ that it was even an option for Hawkins to have his ban wiped out to begin with.
“t it was farcical to think that right up until the decision was handed down how we’re trying to talk that around. That was a belt behind play,” he said.