Demons to appeal Jacob van Rooyen striking ban

·2-min read

Melbourne will head to the AFL appeals board on Thursday to challenge Jacob van Rooyen's controversial two-match striking ban, determined to clear up confusion around how players can contest the ball.

Emerging star van Rooyen was cited for a dangerous spoil, where his bicep hit the head of Gold Coast's Charlie Ballard, and had his two-match suspension upheld at the AFL tribunal on Tuesday night.

Coach Simon Goodwin believed the tribunal's ruling challenged "the fabric of the game".

"When you see the outrage in our supporter base, you see the outrage of the footy community, clearly you look at it, and it's either unjust, or the fabric of the game's getting challenged," he said.

"For us, it's important that we probably go down that path of looking at why that's the case and take it a little bit further and we'll hit all avenues about how we go about doing that and get all the information we can.

"But clearly there's a level of frustration, a level of disappointment for a whole range of different reasons.

"Because clearly the laws state that you can contest the ball and Jacob's only thing that he was looking at was contesting the ball. So the fabric of the game has been challenged."

The decision to uphold van Rooyen's ban has frustrated current and former players, who believe the 20-year-old's attempted spoil was within the spirit of the game.

When asked whether Melbourne felt a responsibility to appeal, Goodwin said: "yeah, we do."

"There is a level of confusion that's out there all of a sudden," he said.

"So we certainly feel it's an important process to go through to help build that clarity."

Ballard was stretchered off the field but has since been cleared of concussion or a neck injury.

The AFL tribunal, led by chair Jeff Gleeson, said the blow's force was considerable and van Rooyen's actions were careless.

"We find that a reasonable player would have foreseen that in spoiling in the way he did, it would almost inevitably have resulted in a forceful blow to Ballard's head," Gleeson said.

Van Rooyen stands to miss games against Hawthorn and Port Adelaide but Goodwin refused to consider his replacement, saying the 20-year-old would be selected.

"He's frustrated. He takes it pretty hard because your name's going through a pretty big process as a young player to deal with," he said.

"We've got a lot of support for Jacob around him and making sure he's OK.

"But we've also got to make sure that he focuses on the potential that he'll be playing this week, and we need him to be able to perform."