Home Australia ‘Exceptional and compelling circumstances’ see Cameron released in court

‘Exceptional and compelling circumstances’ see Cameron released in court

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'Exceptional and compelling circumstances' see Cameron released in court

Brisbane star Charlie Cameron is free to face Geelong on Saturday after the AFL tribunal used its discretion to convert his one-game suspension into a fine.

Cameron challenged the ban he initially received for a dumping tackle on Melbourne’s Jake Lever in Brisbane’s surprise win at the MCG.

On Tuesday night, the court rejected his argument that the impact of the incident should have been rated “low” instead of “medium.”

But the court, led by President Jeff Gleeson, found “exceptional and compelling circumstances” to use its discretion to convert the ban into a fine, citing Cameron’s clean record throughout his 207-game career.

The verdict leaves Cameron free to face the Cats at the Gabba, where he can continue his streak of 123 consecutive games.

Gleeson said the incident was careless but on the lower end of serious, noting that Cameron had to complete the tackle in a rotational manner to prevent Lever, who is 20kg heavier than him, from crushing him due to momentum.

Character references from Adelaide and Carlton champion Eddie Betts and an Indigenous elder also helped sway the tribunal, but most were due to his previous disciplinary record.

The court also noted that Lever was uninjured in the incident.

“His 207 games without suspension puts him in a very small minority…only 668 players of the 13,125 who have played at the elite level have played 200 games,” Gleeson said.

“Almost half of them have been suspended for one game or more. Mr Cameron is clearly in the unusual category in this regard.”

Brisbane sought to reduce the impact rating from medium to low, which would allow Cameron to escape with a fine, despite his guilty plea.

Cameron argued that Lever’s momentum caused him to “lose control of the tackle” but said he had not added additional force, while noting that the Demon defender had a free arm to break his fall.

He noted that Lever raised his head after hitting the ground, but said he was looking at the referee for a free kick and that it was not the force of the tackle that caused his head to bounce.

Tribunal barrister Sally Flynn said it was the potential to cause injury that justified the medium rating, calling the tackle “inherently dangerous”.

Reliance was placed on the “vulnerable” position of the lever, the angle and rotation of the tackle, and the extent of the force to argue for a medium impact.

Cameron returned to his best when he scored three goals in the Lions’ win against the Demons.

The Lions will now enlist the goalkeeper’s services for Saturday night’s big hit against Geelong, when Brisbane will look to build on a two-game winning streak.

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