AFL finals 2023 LIVE updates: Collingwood, Melbourne face off in qualifying final; Bedford ban overturned

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  • Noble standing tall despite being dropped
  • Giants forward Toby Bedford has suspension overturned
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Noble standing tall despite being dropped

Collingwood’s John Noble has played 83 consecutive AFL games but his streak will come to an end after being dropped for tonight’s game.

But Fox Sports reporter Drew Jones has reported Noble has been out on the MCG helping his teammates warm up.

As they say, it’s what you do in the face of adversity and disappointment that shows your true character.

Giants forward Toby Bedford has suspension overturned

GWS forward Toby Bedford is free to play in Saturday’s elimination final against St Kilda after overturning his one-match ban at the AFL Appeals Board.

Bedford was suspended for an off-the-ball bump, deemed as medium impact and high contact, on Carlton’s Zac Fisher in the final round of the home-and-away season.

GWS failed to overturn or downgrade the suspension at the AFL Tribunal on Monday night, but they came up trumps in an appeal on Thursday afternoon.

Giants counsel Ben Ihle successfully argued it was not reasonable for the AFL Tribunal to conclude the high contact was forceful.

“The evidence that was before the tribunal would not permit that finding to be logically or reasonably made,” Ihle said.

“Fisher gave evidence of not recalling high contact, let alone recalling any high contact that was forceful.

“Dr Middleton (the biochemist expert) said it was not capable of determining the level of force – it is impossible based on the video to determine the level of force.

“A tribunal acting reasonably doesn’t act on guess work.”

AFL Counsel Lisa Hannon said the AFL Tribunal panel that comprised of Jeff Gleeson, Darren Gaspar and Scott Stevens were well placed to assess the evidence.

Sports law is one of Gleeson’s specialties, while Darren Gasper (228 AFL games) and Stevens (144 AFL games) have extensive playing experience.

“(They are an) expert sporting panel,” Hannon said.

“The vision shows the whole of the incident.

“This was not a matter of accepting or rejecting the truthfulness of Fisher’s evidence.”

But the Appeals Board, led by chairman Murray Kellam, believed the AFL Tribunal got it wrong, with the decision freeing Bedford to face St Kilda at the MCG.

“We accept it was open to the Tribunal who found that there was contact by the body to player Fisher’s head,” Kellam said.

“But in our view, neither the evidence or the reasons expressed by the Tribunal in respect of such evidence is sufficient to establish that such contact was forceful as required by the AFL regulations.”

Bedford beamed a big smile once the decision was handed down.


Pies big men to play whatever the weather

Collingwood coach Craig McRae has declared his Magpies are ready to launch a deep September run, confirming talls Darcy Cameron and Mason Cox will play despite wet and cold conditions predicted for the qualifying final showdown against Melbourne.

Craig McRae says he will pick Darcy Cameron and Mason Cox (pictured) for Thursday’s big final against Melbourne.Credit: Getty Images

The Magpies were a remarkable success story last year in McRae’s maiden campaign, surging from 17th in a tumultuous 2021 to third, falling short of the grand final in a one-point heartbreaker to the Sydney Swans. But, a season on, McRae believes his side is better equipped to claim what would be the club’s 16th premiership.

“We just seem like we are ready. Last year was all the unknown and what’s coming, gaining some great momentum,” McRae said on Tuesday.

“I have been around footy for a long time now and have been fortunate enough to be involved in some premiership success. And everyone has looked different. I remember having 16 wins in a row at Brisbane to win a flag, and Geelong had that last year. But it doesn’t always look like that.

“This one looks different, but I think we have great momentum in certain parts of our game that we will put on show.”

With AAP

Click here to read the story.

Good evening

G’day everyone. I’m Roy Ward and I’ll be tapping the keys for our AFL live blog as Collingwood and Melbourne play in their qualifying final at the MCG tonight.

We will have all the major moments and post game reactions with the first bounce set for 7.20pm AEST.

Please feel free to leave a comment on the blog and enjoy the evening to come.

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