'Really disappointed': Record AFLW suspension sparks controversy

Australian Associated Press
·3-min read
Adelaide's Ebony Marinoff has been handed a three-game suspension over the incident that saw GSW Giants recruit Brid Stack rushed to hospital with a fractured neck. Pictures: Getty Images
Adelaide's Ebony Marinoff has been handed a three-game suspension over the incident that saw GSW Giants recruit Brid Stack rushed to hospital with a fractured neck. Pictures: Getty Images

Adelaide will appeal the record three-game AFLW suspension of star midfielder Ebony Marinoff.

Marinoff was given the longest ban in AFLW history on Tuesday night after being found guilty by the tribunal of engaging in forceful front-on contact.

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The 23-year-old pleaded not guilty to forceful front-on contact at Tuesday night's tribunal but the charge was upheld, with the Crow receiving the longest suspension in AFLW history.

No player had previously been suspended for more than two games.

Adelaide have until midday AEDT Wednesday to decide whether to appeal the decision.

"The club is really disappointed with this outcome and we'll be considering our options going forward," Crows head of women's football Phil Harper said.

The incident had been assessed as careless conduct, severe impact and high contact, and Marinoff was unable to make an early guilty plea given the matter was referred directly to the tribunal.

The tough-tackling midfielder had never previously been charged by the match review officer in her four previous AFLW seasons.

"I'm really disappointed with this outcome, it was never my intention to hurt Brid," Marinoff said.

"Every time I go onto the footy field I want to play hard but fair football and I believe that's what I did on Sunday.

"I reached out to Brid to send her my best and I wish her a fast recovery."

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As things stand, Adelaide will be without Marinoff - a two-time premiership player, two-time All-Australian and former Rising Star winner - for their season opener away to Melbourne, then home games against Gold Coast and the Western Bulldogs.

The AFLW fixture could yet change amid border restrictions.

Stack, 34, suffered a stable fracture of the C7 vertebra in the incident but no injury to the surrounding nerves and is expected to make a full recovery.

She did not require surgery and was discharged from hospital on Sunday night but will wear a neck brace in the short-term.

The game - Irishwoman Stack's first AFLW match - was called off after the injury.

The hefty suspension raised the ire of several former AFL players, notably Kane Cornes, who argued Marinoff shouldn’t have fronted the tribunal in the first place.

“Suspended for 3 games of a 9 game season for this. The injury was horrific, the action that caused it was not. Crows must appeal,” he wrote on Twitter.

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