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AFL MRO: The potential outcome for Geelong captain Patrick Dangerfield for dangerous tackle on Sam Walsh

Geelong captain Patrick Dangerfield faces a nervous wait ahead of the AFL Match Review Officer’s findings from Friday’s game against Carlton, with a dangerous tackle on Blues star Sam Walsh to gain the MRO’s attention.

The tackle, which occurred in the opening minutes of the Cats’ eventual 63-point defeat, saw Dangerfield take hold of Walsh as the Carlton onballer looked to evade his opponent, with the Cats veteran having both of Walsh’s arms held.

The momentum of both players drove the pair into the ground at speed, with Walsh’s head bouncing off the surface to cause some concern from the officiating umpire, who penalised Dangerfield for a ‘dangerous tackle’.

The tackle came in one motion, however recently introduced guidelines for the AFL Tribunal state that a “tackle where an opponent is slung, driven or rotated into the ground with excessive force may include a run down tackle where the tackled player is driven into the ground with excessive force”.

The MRO would have to view the force with which Walsh is driven into the ground as “excessive” to charge Dangerfield, or could also hand down a dangerous tackle charge if it is viewed that Dangerfield placed Walsh in a ‘vulnerable position’.

Geelong coach Chris Scott stated after the loss that there were actions in the tackle that should support Dangerfield’s case.

“I don’t,” Scott responded when quizzed on whether he worried about the potential absence of his captain.

“The way holding the ball is being interpreted at the moment, if you have hold of an arm, you are very likely to get a free kick for holding the ball.

“Pat didn’t sling him. He had more of an arm and with that sort of momentum, you’re both going to ground.

“That’s the way I saw it.”

Should the MRO see the tackle as a reportable offence, then Dangerfield’s actions would be graded as ‘careless’ conduct. With Walsh’s head making contact with the ground, a ‘high’ contact grading would also be handed down.

The level of impact would then determine whether Dangerfield is handed a suspension or a fine, with any impact level of ‘medium’ or higher set to see the Cats star offered a ban.

A ‘medium’ grading would result in a one-game suspension, while a ‘high’ impact grading – while unlikely – would lead to two matches.

A ‘low’ impact grading would see Dangerifled handed a financial sanction and make him available to play in Round 16 against Essendon.

The MRO will hand down their findings from Friday’s game on Saturday evening.

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