Guilty: Prespakis, Bannister bans upheld after long hearings

GEORGIE Prespakis' two-match ban for a dangerous tackle on St Kilda ruck Erin McKinnon has been upheld after a lengthy tribunal hearing on Tuesday night. Prespakis will miss Geelong's following two games against the Western Bulldogs and Essendon, for whom sister Maddy plays.

Earlier in the evening Essendon forward Daria Bannister's one match suspension for a dangerous tackle on Collingwood co-captain Steph Chiocci was upheld after nearly an hour of jury deliberations.

Prespakis' tackle was initially classed as careless conduct, high contact, and high impact. Geelong counsel Gayann Walker pleaded not guilty on Prespakis' behalf, with an alternative argument that the impact be downgraded to low should the tribunal still believe there was a case to answer.

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Georgie Prespakis may find herself in trouble with the MRO after this heavy tackle midway through the third term

AFL counsel Nick Pane cited McKinnon's medical report, who has since required ongoing treatment, will miss two training sessions and two to three matches after developing severe concussive symptoms. McKinnon's previous history with concussion was also noted.

Pane suggested that Prespakis was looking to pin McKinnon's arms and rotated her into the ground in a vulnerable position, but in giving evidence Prespakis refuted the claims. The Cat said she was trying to trap the ball, not McKinnon's arms, and dropped at the knees to bring them both to the ground together on their side.

It was further suggested that the force applied was excessive in the circumstances and it was the last part of the tackle that was the unreasonable conduct.

Georgie Prespakis celebrates Geelong's win over Richmond at GMHBA Stadium on August 28, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

In pleading the reasonable nature of the tackle in the circumstances, Walker noted that there needs to be some caution when considering the tackle in slow motion, that Prespakis wasn't being careless and is an experienced tackler, that they fell to the ground together with little more force than their body weight and that the tackle was made in one motion. The height difference between the players and McKinnon's teammates' lack of remonstration with Prespakis after the tackle was also mentioned.

The tribunal was stood down for a period before directions were given to the jury due to the complex nature of the case, after which the jury of Michelle Dench, David Neitz and Chair Renee Enbom KC deliberated for 98 minutes.

Georgie Prespakis flies for a mark during round five, season seven, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Daria Bannister's one-match suspension for a dangerous tackle on Steph Chiocci has been upheld, and she will miss this weekend's clash with Brisbane.

The Essendon forward's tackle had been cited as careless conduct, high contact and medium impact, and the Bombers' counsel Jeremy Whelen argued it should be downgraded to low impact.

AFL counsel Nick Pane presented Chiocci's match-day medical report, which said she left the field for assessment after she had taken her free kick. 

There were no signs of concussion either then or after the game, but understands the skipper has since entered concussion protocols, which was not brought up in the Tribunal case.

Bannister called for dangerous tackle on Chiocci

00:32 Sep 23. 2022. 4:45 PM

Tensions heat up as Daria Bannister is penalised for a sling tackle on Steph Chiocci

Pane said the potential to cause injury should be considered, as well as the force generated by the speed and momentum of the tackle, and the slinging motion involved.

Whelen said it was a spinning action, not a lifting and dumping or driving action that is commonly graded as medium impact, citing one example of Maddy Prespakis' tackle on Sarah Hosking in 2021.

The Bombers also argued while Bannister had initially pinned Chiocci's arms, she had let go when the ball spilled free, and the Pie was able to move her arms by the time she hit the ground.

Chiocci's immediate striking retaliation – for which she has since accepted a one-match suspension – was also argued to show low impact.

The jury of David Neitz, Michelle Dench and chair Renee Enbom KC took 56 minutes to come to their conclusion.

Kiara Bowers (Fremantle), Courtney Hodder (Brisbane) and Haneen Zreika (GWS) accepted reprimands for dangerous tackles, J'Noemi Anderson (St Kilda) and Sophie Locke (Hawthorn)  accepted reprimands for rough conduct, and Jess Doyle (GWS) accepted a reprimand for forceful front-on contact.

Kate Surman (Port Adelaide) will pay a $400 fine for her second dangerous tackle of the season, while teammate Ange Foley accepted a reprimand for staging.