Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield has been sent straight to the AFL Tribunal without the chance to enter an early guilty plea for his high bump on Jake Kelly that left the Adelaide player concussed and with a broken nose.
Dangerfield was charged with rough conduct for an incident assessed by match review officer Michael Christian as careless conduct, severe impact and high contact.
Unless the Cats are successful in having the charge downgraded, Dangerfield faces at least three weeks on the sidelines.
The 2016 Brownlow Medal winner will also be ruled ineligible for the game’s most prestigious individual honour this year if he is suspended.
Geelong take on fellow flag hopefuls Brisbane at GMHBA Stadium on Friday night before clashes with arch-rivals Hawthorn and Melbourne over the following fortnight.
The incident occurred in the second quarter of Saturday’s match at the Adelaide Oval which the Crows won by 12 points in a massive upset.
Dangerfield chose to bump Kelly and the pair clashed heads.
“Sometimes players run into each other and there’s a head clash,” Cats coach Chris Scott said after the match.
“I don’t think he intended to headbutt him, that’s for sure.
“To my eye, it looked like he (Dangerfield) was doing everything he could to protect himself and the other player.
“It’s the game we play. Two guys running that speed straight at each other, collisions happen.”
Working against Dangerfield at his hearing are tribunal guidelines that note “players will ordinarily be liable if they elect to bump if not contesting the ball”.
Boom Brisbane recruit Joe Daniher can accept a $2000 fine with an early guilty plea for his strike on Sydney defender Dane Rampe.
Essendon duo Mason Redman and Nik Cox can also accept $2000 fines after being charged with rough conduct and striking respectively.
North Melbourne’s Kayne Turner was reported on Sunday for a dangerous tackle on Port Adelaide forward Xavier Duursma.