Blues brothers to face AFL appeal board

Jason Phelan and John Salvado
The AFL Appeals Board has banned Carlton's Ed Curnow (L) for a game ban but Charlie is free to play

The AFL will attempt to get its messaging about making contact with umpires back on track when Carlton's Curnow brothers front the appeal board.

Charlie and Ed Curnow successfully argued charges of intentional contact with an umpire down to careless contact at Tuesday night's tribunal hearing.

The bar for intentionally touching a whistleblower seemed to have been set at a one-game ban when Geelong's Tom Hawkins accepted his punishment just over a week ago.

Confidence that the message was being upheld by the tribunal wavered when Gold Coast's Steven May was fined rather than suspended on Monday night.

And when both Charlie and Ed were each fined $1000 by the tribunal, the league deemed it had no choice but to act.

The AFL appealed the verdicts on two key grounds.

The first is that no tribunal acting reasonably could have come to those decisions having regard to the evidence before it.

Secondly, that the sanctions imposed were manifestly inadequate.

The appeals will be heard at 3pm AEST on Thursday.

It is just the second occasion in history that the AFL has appealed a tribunal verdict.

The first came last year when then football boss Simon Lethlean appealed a two-game ban handed to Richmond's Bachar Houli for striking Carlton's Jed Lamb.

That penalty was increased to four matches on appeal.

Hawkins took a one-game ban in a plea bargain-style deal after he was threatened with a two-match suspension for touching an umpire during the Cats' round-seven win over GWS.

Geelong coach Chris Scott said that no matter which way the appeals board ruled on Thursday, there would be more clarity surrounding the contentious issue of umpire contact.

"Maybe the mistake was made with Tom and they all should have got fines," Scott told reporters on Thursday.

"But unfortunately what we see right at the moment is that we had a situation where we were very, very comfortable as a club and Tom was comfortable as an individual to take one for the team in some respects, for the greater good of the game, to send a clear message that touching umpires, even if it's inadvertent, shouldn't be permissible.

"The problem we've got in the game now is that if it was right message to send down to lower levels for Tom, it should have been for the others as well."