Cats star Stewart facing lengthy AFL ban


Geelong are likely to be without star defender Tom Stewart for four weeks following the heavy bump that concussed Richmond ace Dion Prestia.

The three-time All-Australian was referred directly to the tribunal and will find out the length of his ban during a virtual hearing on Tuesday night.

Cats coach Chris Scott admitted contest Stewart knew he would “pay the price” for the controversial incident in the first quarter of Saturday’s thrilling.

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The AFL’s match review officer Michael Christian charged Stewart with rough conduct and graded the bump as careless conduct, severe impact and high contact.

Prestia had tapped the ball onwards to a teammate and the ball meter was away when it made contact with the Tigers player’s head.

A groggy Prestia was helped off the ground by trainers and subbed out of the game for big man Ivan Soldo.

Former Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley believed a number of factors taken to be taken into consideration when assessing the incident.

“Three (weeks) feels a little bit unders, so I settle on four, a month of footy,” he told SEN.

“(Richmond) lost a player (Prestia), there was a goal kicked while he was down on the ground, they lost the game by less than a goal, and the opposition get rewarded, in some sense, on the back of that action (by Stewart).”

Stewart was booed by the Tigers faithful every time he went near the ball but was still arguably best-on-ground in the three-point victory that hoisted the Cats to second on the ladder.

The issue sparked calls for a send-off rule to be brought in for similar incidents, but Sydney Swans coach John Longmire urged caution from the AFL.

“We have to make sure we don’t react to one incident,” Longmire said on Monday.

“If we’re going to go down the path of looking at that, there needs to be some more research put into how many times it happens and the impact of it.

“To just come off the back of one incident, it would be a bit reactionary.

“We need to just have a bit of a deep breath, see if it’s a real issue or not first.”

Scott described Stewart as a “scrupulously fair player” and a “fantastic strong character”.

“When I spoke to him post-game, he said, ‘I’ve just made a horrible error and I feel terrible about it. I ran past the ball and I chose to bump, I didn’t mean to do it but gee it was terrible execution and I’m going to pay the price for it’,” Scott said post-game.

“He knows he’s done the wrong thing.”

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