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Heeney receives one-match ban, Rankine cops four weeks

Isaac Heeney's Brownlow medal hopes hang in the balance after the star Sydney forward was offered a one-match ban for striking, while Adelaide's Izak Rankine was slapped with a whopping four-match suspension.

Heeney was the favourite to win the AFL's best and fairest gong this season, but his off-the-ball strike means he is now ineligible unless the Swans successfully overturn the charge at the AFL Tribunal.

The Swans ace was punished for his swinging back-hand fend on a stumbling Jimmy Webster that caught the St Kilda defender in the face and drew blood from his nose.

Webster was on his haunches for a few seconds after the hit, with Heeney able to run clear, mark and goal before checking on his opponent.

The incident was assessed as intentional conduct, low impact and high contact, drawing a one-match ban.

Heeney will miss Saturday's home match against North Melbourne if he is unable to overturn the ban.

High fends this season are deemed intentional, rather than careless, leading AFL Hall of Famer Leigh Matthews to tell Channel Nine, "you do the crime, you do the time".

Saints coach Ross Lyon did his best to vouch for Heeney after Sunday's match.

"He certainly didn't mean to clock Webster, but he accidentally clips him in the head," Lyon said.

"He's a great player and certainly there was no intention."

Rankine copped four weeks for his off-the-ball bump on Brandon Starcevich that resulted in the Lions defender being subbed out of the game with concussion.

Starcevich seemed unaware the contact was coming, with the AFL clamping down hard on such bumps in a bid to protect players from concussion.

The incident was assessed as intentional conduct, severe impact and high contact.

Izak Rankine of the Crows
Crows star Izak Rankine faces a stint on the sidelines for a head-high bump against Brisbane. (Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS)

Unless he is able to downgrade the ban at the AFL Tribunal, he will miss games against St Kilda, Essendon, Hawthorn and Geelong.

In a sad post-script, Rankine was racially abused on social media by a Brisbane Lions member.

Brisbane responded by cancelling that person's membership.

Rankine was booed by Lions supporters following his bump on Starcevich, but both Brisbane and Adelaide released statements making it clear there was no tolerance for racial abuse.

"There is no place for racism of any kind in society and it is extremely sad and disappointing that we find ourselves dealing with yet another abhorrent attack on one of our players," Crows chief executive Tim Silvers said.

"As an industry we have a collective responsibility to not only call out racism, but do everything we can to eradicate it, and we support Brisbane which has acted swiftly and decisively.

"It is also important we take the time to understand the hurt this behaviour causes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people because unfortunately, despite how far we have come in this space, the message is still not getting through."

Brisbane have reported the comments to the AFL Integrity department for further investigation.