AFL greats Jason Dunstall and Dermott Brereton believe Brisbane have a case to get Jarrod Berry’s charge for an alleged eye gouge downgraded.
Berry was cited for his actions in a wrestle with Demon Clayton Oliver in the third term of the Lions’ semi final win at the MCG on Friday night.
As Oliver had Berry pinned on his back with an arm across his neck region, cameras captured Berry reaching out with his left arm and making contact with the Demon’s face.
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The Match Review determined Berry made “unreasonable or unnecessary contact” to Oliver’s eye region, with his actions deemed intentional.
Berry was handed a one-match ban, meaning he will miss his side’s preliminary final showdown with Geelong.
Fox Footy’s Jason Dunstall believes Brisbane should fight the “intentional” grading at the Tribunal this week.
“I think careless is a great way to describe it,” he said.
“He’s getting his face and his neck crushed by a forearm.
“You’re just grappling and trying to struggle to find a little bit of freedom. I didn’t see the fingers go into the eyes at all, so I think they’ve got a great case to argue.
“There’s a difference between pushing a face and actually getting the fingers in and gouging.
“If you can bring it back to careless, I think you can get it to a fine.”
Five-time premiership player Dermott Brereton agreed the Lions needed to argue Berry’s actions were not intentional.
“You’re flailing around underneath, you’re probably going to grab at anything to get him off you and that pinpoint elbow off your throat,” he said on SEN.
Fox Footy’s Nick Riewoldt warned Berry’s defence could go either way at the Tribunal given results this season.
“I think the argument will be and the mitigating circumstance will be that you were on your back and you’ve got an elbow or wrist in your face,” he said on Best on Ground.
“So you’re not the one on top with that sort of raking motion. I think that’ll be the defence. Will he get off? Who would know with the tribunal and MRO this year, seriously.”
Replays showed Oliver immediately signal to the umpire, pointing to his face after he and Berry were separated.
Former AFL coach Brenton Sanderson said he did not believe Berry would intentionally attack Oliver’s eyes.
“Jarrod Berry is one of the greatest kids in AFL footy, it’s not in his personality,” he said on SEN.
“It’s not a defence because every action has a consequence … but unfortunately a great young kid who played one of the great games … (has) got to sit and watch.
“It’s a big loss for the Lions.”
Brisbane would need to get Berry’s charge downgraded to careless, instead of intentional, to free up the star mid to face Geelong in the preliminary final.