James Kelly faces AFL tribunal

James Kelly at Geelong training.

By John Van Klaveren

Geelong will take the James Kelly bump case to the AFL tribunal.

Coach Chris Scott said the club considered it had “more than enough grounds to challenge it successfully”.

“We’ll have to wait and see but we are very confident.”

Scott said appealing the match review panel finding that the bump was head high was one of the grounds.

Kelly was cited by the MRP after a bump on Essendon midfielder Brendon Goddard and offered a two week suspension.

However, he cannot reduce the suspension with an early guilty plea because he already has carryover points from last season.

Neither can he be given an extra week by taking the report to the tribunal.

Scott bristled at suggestions the club had a “free hit” because it was not risking further suspension.

“It’s not a free hit, he won’t risk another week but he will risk 80 carry over points and that’s not insignificant. The system is stacked against you in that regard.

“It is a big risk for a player of James Kelly’s quality to be carrying 80 or 90 carryover points into the last part of the year.”

Scott said the case would determine if bumping was still legal in the modern game.

“It’s as close as I can imagine it to there being a fair bump and if it’s not fair then by extension we are saying you can’t bump.”

Scott admitted he was a “little bit surprised” that Kelly was cited. “But these things you learn not to be too shocked or outraged.

“The rules are grey, you are talking split seconds and millimetres between perfectly legal and well executed and illegal and punishable. I think it’s extremely difficult on the payers.

“Will I be shocked if it is not overturned? Probably not, we go in with an expectation that anything can happen.”


James Kelly lost his bid to have his two week suspension overturned at the tribunal

Despite player evidence to the contrary, the tribunal decided on the basis of video evidence that Kelly had made forceful contact to the head of Essendon’s Brendon Goddard.

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