AFL loophole raises eyebrows after Patrick Dangerfield named in VFL practice match

Suspended Brownlow medallist Patrick Dangerfield will make a surprise appearance for Geelong’s VFL side thanks to an apparent loophole that has unsettled triple premiership winner Justin Leppitsch.

Dangerfield was unavailable for the Cats’ AFL win over Brisbane on Friday night after earning a three-match ban for a bump in round one.

But on Saturday morning VFL outfit Port Melbourne revealed he had been named by Geelong for a state-league practice match beginning at midday.

AFL rules dictate Dangerfield could receive permission to play because it is a practice match, not a VFL home-and-away game.

The announcement, however, raised eyebrows, with Leppitsch – who coached the Brisbane Lions for three years – arguing it destroys the premise of a suspension.

“Part of a suspension is that you don’t get to play in that period and you may even come back a little rusty as a part of it,” Leppitsch said on SEN.

“It is an interesting one and I probably wouldn’t allow it if I was my competition.

“But if everyone is doing it then I guess that’s what it is.”

Carlton’s new recruit Zac Williams last week played in a VFL practice match despite being suspended from playing in round one of the AFL season.

The suspended Patrick Dangerfield (left) watched Friday night’s AFL game from the stands. Credit: AAP

Williams had earned a one-match ban for a bump during an official AFL pre-season match.

SEN reported the AFL must approve requests for suspended players to take part in a VFL practice match.

It is unclear what would prevent a player from receiving permission to play.

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