Home / World News / West Coast star Elliot Yeo has one-match ban overturned at tribunal, is free to play against Geelong

West Coast star Elliot Yeo has one-match ban overturned at tribunal, is free to play against Geelong

West Coast star Elliot Yeo is free to play against Geelong after winning his fight to have a one-match ban for striking thrown out by the AFL tribunal tonight.

Yeo was charged with striking Collingwood midfielder Rupert Wills in the dying seconds of the third quarter. Match Review Officer Michael Christian classified the report as intentional conduct with low impact and high contact.

Speaking after the tribunal hearing, Yeo said he was “happy to be able to play” against Geelong on Saturday.

“You want to try and see those things out of the game, you don’t really want to see people get hit in the head,” he said.

“I’m really appreciative of how everything went.

“Obviously they could see that the strike was towards the chest and not the head at all.”

Yeo pleaded not guilty to the charge and argued that the level of force was below what was required to be a reportable offence.

VideoWATCH: This is the incident Elliot Yeo has received a one-match suspension for.

Yeo spent 21 minutes giving evidence and being cross examined. He argued he attempted to fend Wills off to the chest with an open hand at a boundary throw in, and Wills threw his head back to avoid contact, instead of reeling away from a blow.

“I open palm pushed him off with my left hand,” Yeo explained.

“Then he’s gone to initiate contact again, I’ve gone with a palm, starting from my hip and tried to get separation by pushing my palm into his chest. From that angle, it looks like it might have merely brushed him on the neck.”

Yeo said Wills didn’t say anything or remonstrate with him after the incident and no Collingwood player or umpire spoke to him either.

The Eagles showed multiple pieces of vision and several photographs during their defence. West Coast’s lawyer David Grace QC said the fact Wills wasn’t required to provide testimony meant there was no evidence that Yeo struck him with force to the face.

But AFL legal counsel Jeff Gleeson told the jury that Yeo’s actions were “inherently dangerous” and had the ability to cause serious injury.

He urged the jury to “trust your eyes” after viewing the incident instead of trusting Yeo’s evidence.

“It is in my submission, a bit of a stretch to say Wills flinches violently at an oncoming strike and throws his head back in such a piece of awful timing for Mr Yeo that it looks a whole like he’s received a blow,” Gleeson said.

“Trust your eyes. What happened was his head jolts back markedly because he’s received a blow to the head.”

Mr Grace argued that given the AFL’s guidelines state that intentional blows which are considered dangerous will not usually be graded as low, showed that even Christian didn’t believe the strike was serious.

“The Match Review Officer, notwithstanding that guideline, has classified it as low impact, thereby impliedly finding there was no risk of serious injury,” Grace said.

The hearing went for one hour and 44 minutes and that included the jury deliberating for a whopping 33 minutes.

They ruled the initial contact was to Wills’ chest and only negligible contact occurred above the shoulders.

While Yeo is free to play, Geelong are reportedly considering contesting the one-match suspension handed to their star Tom Hawkins today for elbowing Docker Luke Ryan.

Yeo was the second Eagle to fight a charge at the tribunal this season. Key defender Jeremy McGovern failed to avoid a ban for striking Gold Coast’s Alex Sexton earlier this year.

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