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Sydney Swans, Isaac Heeney tribunal, strike Jimmy Webster, AFL Appeals Board, Brownlow Medal race

Sydney star midfielder Isaac Heeney is officially out of the Brownlow race, after his one-match ban for striking Jimmy Webster was upheld at the AFL’s appeals board.

It came after a marathon hour and 40 minute hearing on Thursday night, followed by another 40 minutes of deliberation, before the matter was dismissed.

The Swans argued that the tribunal “closed their ears” on Tuesday night, blindly assuming Heeney had intent to strike Webster, which the club denied strongly.

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Heeney was being tagged by St Kilda defender Jimmy Webster off-the-ball during the Swans two-point loss in round 17, with midfielder attempting to shrug him off.

The midfielder moved his right arm and flung it into Webster’s face, as he led for the ball in the Swans’ forward 50.

Isaac Heeney whacks Jimmy Webster off the ball. Nine

Webster was seen then with blood running from his nose from the hit to his face.

Sydney’s lawyer Duncan Miller called out the AFL tribunal for “closing its ears” after identifying Heeney’s swinging arm to Webster’s face, automatically assuming negative intention.

Miller also honed in on the careless element of Heeney’s original charge.

“What Heeney did was not the action of someone who intended to hit and run … he showed complete surprise, which is in line with carelessness,” Miller said.

Webster was left with a bloody nose after his hit from Heeney.

Webster was left with a bloody nose after his hit from Heeney. Footy on Nine

Heeney’s original charge was graded as intentional conduct, low impact, high contact.

The appeals board dismissed the Swans argument.

“We conclude that there was material before the tribunal, in which it was open to the tribunal to make the finding of intentional conduct,” appeals board member Will Houghton said.

“We do not consider that the tribunal acted unreasonably … or unjustly, therefore, this case is dismissed.”

The last time a player was ineligible for a Brownlow medal that they won was back before the turn of the century.

In 1996, it was North Melbourne’s Corey McKernan who won the Brownlow but was ineligible, then in 1997, Bulldogs star Chris Grant suffered the same fate.


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