Tom Hawkins has succeeded in his bid to downgrade a striking charge and the power Geelong forward is free to play in Saturday’s AFL clash with West Coast.
The Cats’ veteran pleaded guilty to striking but argued he didn’t collect Fremantle defender Luke Ryan high in the final quarter of Monday night’s game.
The tribunal jury of Jason Johnson, Shane Wakelin and Paul Williams wasn’t satisfied the contact constituted high contact and warranted a one-game suspension.
The panel agreed with match review officer Michael Christian’s initial grading of the incident as intentional and low impact, but not high contact.
Hawkins was instead fined $1000 for contact to Ryan’s body instead of above the shoulders.
After the hit, Ryan ran out the game and didn’t require any ongoing medical treatment.
Fremantle’s medical report stated that first contact was made to Ryan’s collarbone before Hawkins’ elbow slid up towards Ryan’s neck.
Geelong’s legal counsel Ben Ihle argued there was “daylight” between Hawkins’ elbow and any high part of Ryan’s body.
It is welcome relief for Hawkins after missing last year’s preliminary-final loss to Richmond through a ban for striking West Coast’s Will Schofield.
The 32-year-old has received six suspensions – totalling seven games – across the past five seasons.
Hawkins has played all eight of the Cats’ games this year, booting 14 goals – including three against the Dockers.
It comes a day after West Coast star Elliot Yeo’s one-game ban for striking being overturned by the tribunal, clearing him to take on the Cats at Optus Stadium.