Like you’re on trial for murder’: Patrick Dangerfield banned for three games by AFL tribunal

Like you’re on trial for murder’: Patrick Dangerfield banned for three games by AFL tribunal

Geelong star Patrick Dangerfield has explained he felt like he was on “trial for murder” in the lead-up to his AFL tribunal hearing for a bump gone wrong on Adelaide’s Jake Kelly.

The eight-time All-Australian was handed a three-game ban on Tuesday night after pleading guilty to his rough conduct charge. Already dealing with the fall-out of the Cats’ shock loss to last year’s wooden spooners, Dangerfield said it was a “confronting” period after he was directed straight to the tribunal.

The 30-year-old’s last suspension was a one-match ban for a dangerous tackle in 2017.

“It’s hard to shut off from it. You feel like you’re on trial for murder,” Dangerfield told SEN. “It’s an eye-opener for someone who hasn’t been through [that sort of scrutiny] before. Timing’s everything in round one; when there isn’t too many other stories, it was big. It was definitely confronting.”

Kelly was left concussed and with a broken nose following the collision with the 2016 Brownlow medallist and will miss at least Adelaide’s next match against the Sydney Swans on Saturday.

Dangerfield spoke to his former Crows teammate after the game and checked in on him the next day.

“I lived with Jake for a few years, I know him and his family quite well,” he said. “It’s always distressing when you see a player concussed or hurt and it gets increasingly worse than when you know the person.”

Dangerfield will miss Geelong’s clash with the Brisbane Lions on Friday night, as well as games against Hawthorn and Melbourne. He will be eligible to return for the Cats’ clash with North Melbourne on 18 April.

Dangerfield initially thought a lengthy suspension was not a possibility, but accepts the punishment and will not appeal the tribunal’s decision.

“After the game, I didn’t think there was anything in it at all, to be honest,” he said. “And then the hours unfold … it goes from ‘I didn’t think there was anything in it’, because it was within play to, ‘I’m in a bit of trouble’.”