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North won't appeal Ziebell ruling

Sportal July 18, 2012, 11:12 am
Jack Ziebell

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North Melbourne have opted not to appeal against the tribunal's decision to uphold a four-match suspension against Jack Ziebell, although his team-mates Drew Petrie and Majak Daw may still face AFL censure after criticising the decision on Twitter.

Ziebell was cited by the match review panel on Monday for his high hit on Carlton's Aaron Joseph in last Friday night's big win by the Kangaroos, the midfielder offered a four-match ban that would be reduced to three with an early-guilty plea.

However the Kangaroos were unable to get Ziebell's rough-conduct charge overturned by the tribunal, meaning the 21-year-old will now miss crucial matches against Richmond, Melbourne, Western Bulldogs and Essendon as ninth-placed North Melbourne fight it out for eighth position on the ladder.

The Kangaroos have opted not to appeal against the tribunal's decision.

"We are obviously disappointed with the outcome, but unfortunately given the case and the circumstances, there are no grounds for us to appeal the decision," chief of football Donald McDonald said in a statement on the club's website.

"It's now important that we support Jack and reiterate we are extremely proud of the way he plays.

"He's a proven ball player and we believe his only intention in this situation was to win the ball in the contest.

"For the club, our players and supporters, we now need to come together as a group and focus on our next challenge this weekend against Richmond."

However, Petrie and Daw made their feelings felt on the decision through social media on Tuesday night.

Petrie initially tweeted: "Lost enough sleep already tonight over that decision. Got a sore neck from shaking my head so much. Time for bed."

And then added: "Advice for @JackZiebell. Stop being so courageous and playing footy hard the way it's meant to be played. Please turn into a softy."

Daw didn't make any comment but according to the ''Herald-Sun'' re-tweeted a post from another user that said: "AFL please explain how Ziebell gets the same penalty as (Chris) Judd and more time than (Sharrod) Wellingham... do you really think this is a fair system?"

It is uncertain whether the two players may face punishment from the AFL, especially after the body fined Carlton $7500 for comments made on Twitter by Marc Murphy, Jeremy Laidler and Jarrad Waite, who used the social media service to criticise umpires during the Blues' recent loss to West Coast.

At the time, the predominant reason given for fining the Carlton trio was that they were deliberately criticising the umpires, although it remains to be seen whether the same principle will apply to a tribunal decision.

"A player's use of social media to make comments around umpiring will be subject to the AFL's rules in exactly the same way as comments made in a formal interview or any other media environment," said AFL football operations manager Adrian Anderson at the time.