Reigning AFLW best-and-fairest winner Madison Prespakis has been ruled out of Saturday’s crunch clash with North Melbourne after her dangerous tackle charge was upheld at the Tribunal.
Carlton star Prespakis was offered a one-match ban by the match review panel for nailing Sarah Hosking with a driving tackle during her team’s five-point win over the Tigers last Saturday.
Hosking, whose head hit the turf, got up straight away and continued to play on before coming off for a concussion test, which cleared her to return.
The match review panel determined the incident was careless conduct, medium impact and high contact, resulting in a one-match ban.
Peter O’Farrell, representing Prespakis at the AFLW Tribunal hearing on Wednesday, argued the tackle was simply awkward and wasn’t careless and shouldn’t be classed as medium impact.
Jeff Gleeson, representing the AFL, said Hosking was in a vulnerable position and argued incidents like that were likely to cause injury.
After 20 minutes of deliberation, the Tribunal jury deemed the tackle was indeed unreasonable and also constituted a driving action, meaning the one-match ban was upheld.
While giving evidence, Prespakis claimed she didn’t drive Hosking into the turf, but rather was simply falling backwards after being hit by her opponent.
“Sarah’s gone into me shoulder first, launched into me. It’s clearly taken the wind out of me,” Prespakis said.
“You can tell she’s jumped straight off the ground into me. And I’m planted.
“I was just falling backwards. She came at me with such force. You can see my hands haven’t pinned her arms. I just held onto her and fell backwards. I’m just hanging on really.
“I’ve made contact with the ground first. I’ve fallen backwards to help Sarah land in a safe manner and used myself as a cushion for her landing.”
Gleeson denied that was the case.
“If she had simply allowed the momentum to continue she would have brought the player to ground – essentially on top of herself – and there would have been no risk to the head or neck,” Gleeson said.
“But what happened is she rotated and drove the head and shoulder and neck into the ground. The left arm was pinned.
“The vision shows she was vulnerable … she was driven into the ground.
“This vision is uncomfortable to watch, it’s awful. It’s the sort of thing that is likely to cause injury and indeed serious injury.”
The Blues (2-2) and Kangaroos (2-2) sit just outside the top six, with Saturday’s game set to prove crucial to their finals hopes.