Home Australia ‘The facts here are different’: Barrass unable to overturn ban on ‘good guy’ defence

‘The facts here are different’: Barrass unable to overturn ban on ‘good guy’ defence

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'The facts here are different': Barrass unable to overturn ban on 'good guy' defence

West Coast defender Tom Barrass failed to overturn his one-match suspension for a dangerous tackle, and the club’s Charlie Cameron-type defense fell on deaf ears at the AFL Tribunal.

The Eagles’ first line of defense was to argue that Barrass’ tackle on Fremantle veteran Michael Walters should be rated low impact rather than medium impact.

But if that fails, West Coast lawyer David Grace argued Barrass’ clean on-field record and exemplary work in the community should invoke the AFL’s “exceptional and compelling circumstances” clause and reduce the ban. to simply a fine.

The AFL Tribunal sparked major debate last week when it downgraded Cameron’s one-match ban for a dangerous tackle to a fine, citing the Brisbane forward’s fair play record and his off-field character assessments as reasons behind of the measure.

But that decision, led by Chief Justice Jeff Gleeson, opened a can of worms for other players trying to escape suspension.

Given the similarities between the Barrass and Cameron incidents, West Coast also rejected the ‘good guy’ defense at Wednesday’s hearing, given that Barrass has never been suspended during his 138-game AFL career or his 33-game career. in the WAFL senior.

After deliberating for more than an hour, the tribunal’s three-person panel concluded that Barrass’ entry constituted a medium impact level.

And presiding judge Renee Enbom said there were not enough exceptional or compelling circumstances to reduce Barrass’ ban to a fine.

“That (Cameron’s) decision was based on his own facts. The facts here are different,” Enbom said.

“The difference here is the dangerous tackling aspects.

“The combination of excessive force, arm immobilization and forced rotation created a significant potential for head or neck injury.

“Barrass has a commendable record. But we do not consider that his record, however good, makes it inappropriate or unreasonable to apply a one-game suspension.”

Barrass’s work at the McGovern Foundation, which helps Indigenous people get and keep their driving licence, was the subject of intense debate when he gave evidence.

The 28-year-old’s advocacy work in the battle against domestic violence was also highlighted.

Barrass also detailed her work at the Hale School, where she teaches meditation to eighth-grade students.

Also included were references from teammate Jeremy McGovern, who founded the McGovern Foundation, and former West Coast president Russell Gibbs.

Barrass said he had two interactions with Walters after tackling him and on both occasions the Fremantle striker downplayed the incident.

“The first one we ran past each other on the ground and gave each other a high five,” Barrass said.

“The second one was after the game, I shook hands and said, ‘Is everyone okay, bro?’ and he said, ‘Yes, I’m very sweet.'”

In Barrass’ defense, Grace argued that Walters’ head had hit the ball first before making contact with the ground.

“That’s a significant deterrent to the level of impact,” Grace said.

“The soccer ball is made of leather. If an object falls on it, it can cause a mark on the ball.

“The ball, as we know it, is full of air.”

AFL lawyer Andrew Woods disputed that theory.

He also noted that Barrass’ 138 AFL games without suspension should not constitute exigent circumstances.

Woods said the impact was clearly medium rather than low.

“You can see the head colliding with the ground,” Woods said.

“Walters opens his mouth and puts his hands to his head.

“There was some frank evidence given about the use of force and it was excessive.”

Barrass will miss Sunday’s clash against Gold Coast, dealing a blow to West Coast’s hopes of a third straight win.

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