Brownlow Medal favourite Patrick Dangerfield remains eligible for the game’s most coveted individual award this season after escaping with a financial sanction for the backhander that connected with Greater Western Sydney tagger Matt de Boer.
The Geelong champion is also free to play in the Easter Monday blockbuster against Hawthorn at the MCG.
Dangerfield was on Monday fined $2000 by match review officer Michael Christian for the first of two off-the-ball swings at de Boer, which struck the Giant’s sternum.
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However, he escaped sanction for a second swing that appeared to graze the top of a hunched-over de Boer’s head.
Dangerfield was lucky he didn’t make cleaner contact with the second swing.
“I don’t want to delve into hypotheticals, but the reality is that in the end the contact was minimal and there wasn’t sufficient force to constitute a reportable offence,” Christian said.
Dangerfield’s first strike during Saturday’s narrow loss to GWS was assessed as intentional conduct and low impact to the body.
De Boer immediately crumpled to the turf but played out the match.
It was the second successive week de Boer had been hit off the ball, having been whacked by Richmond superstar Dustin Martin in round three.
Dangerfield, who won the Brownlow Medal in 2016, will be looking for an improved showing against Hawthorn after registering his lowest possession tally (17) in four seasons with Geelong.
In other incidents assessed by the MRO, Carlton’s Will Setterfield was offered a two-match ban for rough conduct against Gold Coast youngster Wil Powell and North Melbourne defender Luke McDonald was handed a one-match suspension for rough conduct against Adelaide’s Chayce Jones.
Setterfield drove Powell into the ground in a tackle that saw the Claremont product taken from the field.
He did not return.
“If you drive, sling or rotate with excessive force into the ground then it becomes unreasonable in the circumstances,” Christian said.
“Therefore, it’s rough conduct.
“In this particular case it was certainly a slinging action and added to that Powell was in a vulnerable position because Setterfield had his right arm, which didn’t really give him any opportunity to brace for contact with the ground.”
Christian laid no charges out of Saturday night’s hard-fought western derby.