A shattered Katie Brennan was found guilty at the tribunal on Tuesday night. Picture: Andrew Tauber
A shattered Katie Brennan was found guilty at the tribunal on Tuesday night. Picture: Andrew Tauber

Last hurrah: Dogs to appeal Brennan ban

THE Western Bulldogs will appeal Katie Brennan's two-match ban in a last-ditch effort to have the captain play in Saturday's AFLW grand final after her suspension was upheld by the AFL tribunal on Tuesday night.

The AFL Appeals Board will be convened on Thursday night at a time to be determined.

The move means that the club will be less than 48 hours out from a Grand Final tilt and won't know whether its captain will be playing.

The Western Bulldogs are currently formulating their case and who will form the team to present it.

A "gutted" Brennan is currently out of the AFL Women's grand final against Brisbane after a historic and explosive night at the tribunal.

The Western Bulldogs skipper was found guilty of rough conduct for her tackle on Demon Harriet Cordner before club advocate Sam Norton attempted to play his final ace - arguing that Brennan's role as a "trailblazer" in AFL Women's and the fact she would miss a grand final were exceptional and compelling circumstances that warranted a reduced penalty.

Ultimately, the tribunal deemed that it was not and the star forward would serve the entirety of her two-match ban.

A shattered Katie Brennan was found guilty at the tribunal on Tuesday night. Picture: Andrew Tauber
A shattered Katie Brennan was found guilty at the tribunal on Tuesday night. Picture: Andrew Tauber

"I'm gutted with the decision," a visibly emotional Brennan said after the lengthy hearing.

"I'll support the club in whatever they choose to do going forward and I'll be able to play my role come game day.

"We've proved that the girls don't need myself out on the field to win games and I'll back them 100% in. I'll be able to play a really important role come game day."

The door is now ajar for an appeal, with the Bulldogs set to face Brisbane at Ikon Park in three days' time.

An AFL Appeals Board hearing could be held on Thursday night.

The Western Bulldogs would have to show an error of law, manifestly excessive sanction, manifestly excessive or inadequate classification or that the decision was so unreasonable that no tribunal acting reasonably could have come to that decision having regard to the evidence before it.

The tackle that landed Katie Brennan in hot water. Picture: Getty
The tackle that landed Katie Brennan in hot water. Picture: Getty
Brennan plead not guilty to the charge of rough conduct - careless conduct with low impact to the head - at the beginning of the 90-minute hearing, in which Norton attempted to argue that the tackle was not unreasonable in the circumstances and that Brennan had implemented a tackle as she had been trained to do.

"She shouldn't miss a grand final for this," Norton declared.

In giving evidence, Brennan said she had received training after her rough conduct reprimand in Round 1.

"Yes, with Andrew Shakespeare our development coach," she said on the stand.

"Working on technique of the tackle and making sure that I was learning from the last time.

"We work on getting in tight with the body, wrapping our arms around, dropping at the knees and making sure that we're protecting the player and not falling into the back of the player, also."

Her second reprimand for the season - delivered by match review officer Michael Christian on Monday - had automatically triggered a two-match ban for Brennan, reduced to one with an early guilty plea, due to her recording the previous reprimand earlier in the season.

Katie Brennan’s heavy tackle on Harriet Cordner has cost her a spot in the grand final.
Katie Brennan’s heavy tackle on Harriet Cordner has cost her a spot in the grand final.

Brennan argued that Cordner's momentum contributed to the tackle, its speed and Cordner hitting the ground.

She said when she heard the whistle, she thought she had won a free kick for Cordner holding the ball.

Brennan said she apologised to Cordner, and that there had been no remonstration from Demons players.

"Because I am mates with Harriet and if I caused her some pain, I was apologising," she said.

The AFL counsel argued firmly that the action, as stated in tribunal guidelines, was unreasonable in the circumstances and that Brennan's standing in the game did not warrant exceptional and compelling circumstances worthy of avoiding suspension.

It also argued that taking the fact that she will miss a grand final into account would set an unwanted precedent and that deterring factors must be present.

It was the first time that a suspension has been challenged at the tribunal.


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