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- Carlton defender Jacob Weitering escaped with a fine for an incident with Toby Greene.
- Weitering will be free to play in the Blues’ first final in a decade next week against Sydney.
- The Giants are appealing forward Toby Bedford’s one-match rough conduct charge.
Star Blue Jacob Weitering is free to play in Carlton’s first final in a decade after escaping with a fine for an incident that left Toby Greene with a cut above his right eye.
Losing the key defender – arguably the Blues’ most important player to their structure, alongside back-to-back Coleman medallist Charlie Curnow – would have been a significant blow to their hopes of advancing from their elimination final against Sydney, under lights at the MCG on Friday week.
Greene cheekily suggested post-match that Weitering “might be in trouble” after being banned himself for making unreasonable, or unnecessary, contact to the eye region of gun Lion Lachie Neale in their 2019 final.
However, match review officer Michael Christian assessed the incident as careless conduct, low impact and high contact, leaving Weitering to accept a $3000 fine, downgraded to $2000 with an early guilty plea. The careless grading was crucial because an intentional ruling would have resulted in a one-match ban.
The fleeting and incidental nature of Weitering’s contact was what spared him from suspension.
Weitering rushed towards Greene to remonstrate after the Giant conceded a free kick for a dangerous tackle on Mitch McGovern late in the second quarter of Greater Western Sydney’s 32-point win at Marvel Stadium on Sunday.
Carlton’s vice-captain was attempting to pull Greene off McGovern and became more aggressive as the GWS skipper continued to hold on to McGovern.
Weitering and Greene were involved in a heated exchange.
His left hand made accidental contact to, or just above, Greene’s right eye – the likely cause for the cut – but it was the raking motion with the same hand across the Giant’s left eye that could have cost him dearly.
Giants small forward Toby Bedford was not so lucky, with Christian offering him a one-match ban for his bump on the Blues’ Zac Fisher. It is Bedford’s second rough conduct offence, after he was suspended for one match late last year when he was still playing for Melbourne, for a dangerous tackle on Swan Ollie Florent.
Christian assessed Bedford’s action as careless conduct, medium impact and high contact.
GWS have already announced they will appeal the sanction in a bid to clear the ex-Demon for the Giants’ elimination final on Saturday week against St Kilda at the MCG.
Speaking after Sunday’s loss, Blues coach Michael Voss revealed he had not “even bothered” to watch a replay of the Weitering-Greene stoush, appearing to be supremely confident his man would beat any potential charge.
“I’m comfortable with the commentary around it, so I’ll leave it at that,” Voss said.
“He’s pretty important [Weitering] – I think that’s stating the real obvious. He’s had a fantastic year, and our leaders have been really important.”
Carlton enter the finals as one of the hottest clubs in the competition, having won nine games on the trot before running into the Giants with their finals position already locked in.
They regained Sam Walsh and Adam Cerra from respective injuries at the weekend, while 2021 Coleman medallist Harry McKay (knee) played his second game back and captain Patrick Cripps (soreness) will be fit to play in the finals.
Off-season recruit Blake Acres was cleared of a fracture to his collarbone by the club on Monday but will undergo a fitness test next week to determine his availability.
They will take on the loser of Collingwood and Melbourne for the right to make a preliminary final, if they account for the Swans.
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