Sydney superstar Lance Franklin has successfully challenged his one-match AFL ban for striking and is free to play against Essendon on Saturday night.
Franklin was caught in a Luke Ryan tackle during the Swans’ win at Metricon Stadium on Sunday when he flung back his left elbow, making clear contact to the Fremantle defender’s head.
Match review officer (MRO) Michael Christian assessed the striking action as careless conduct, high contact and medium impact, which drew an automatic one- game ban.
But the Swans were successful on Tuesday in persuading the tribunal jury, who deliberated for 26 minutes, that the impact was low instead of medium. Franklin will instead pay a $3000 fine.
The Swans used three examples from this season to back Franklin’s case – Richmond’s David Astbury against Carlton’s Lachie Plowman, Brisbane’s Joe Daniher on Sydney’s Dane Rampe and West Coast captain Luke Shuey for striking the Swans’ Callum Mills.
All three of the highlighted incidents resulted in the charged player avoiding suspension and being slapped with a fine instead.
Working in Franklin’s favour is Ryan was not injured during the incident and did not even leave the field for any sort of medical treatment.
AFL legal counsel Jeff Gleeson argued Franklin swung his arm in a vigorous manner.
“This is not a matter where it was a near miss … his elbow did hit the player’s head and with some force,” Gleeson said.
It is not the first time Franklin has come under MRO scrutiny this season.
The 34-year-old star was fined $2000 for making forceful front-on contact with Port Adelaide’s Jarrod Lienert last month.
Franklin is closing in on the 1000-goal milestone, having taken his tally to 983 with two majors against the Dockers.
A suspension would have been a major blow to his chances of getting there this season and would also be a hurdle for Sydney as they chase a top-four spot.
The Swans and Essendon face off at the Gabba, with both clubs having been based temporarily in Queensland for the past fortnight.