The Adelaide Crows will appeal the record three-match suspension handed to AFLW midfielder Ebony Marinoff, after a collision left Greater Western Sydney recruit Brid Stack with a fractured vertebra.
- Brid Stack suffered a fractured vertebra from a collision
- Ebony Marinoff was suspended for three games — a record for the AFLW
- Stack has since been released from hospital and is expected to make a full recovery
The AFL tribunal suspended Marinoff for three matches on Tuesday night — a ban that would see the two-time premiership player miss a third of the season.
Marinoff was yesterday found guilty of engaging in forceful front-on contact with the Giants’ Irish recruit during a trial match on Sunday.
The Crows have since said they will contest the ruling, claiming the decision was “unreasonable” and the “sanction imposed was excessive”.
Crows head of women’s football Phil Harper said the club weighed up its options and decided appealing was in its best interests.
“We all feel that the suspension is grossly disproportionate for the action,” Harper said.
Coach Matthew Clarke said the incident was an “unavoidable footy collision”.
“Ebony plays the game in the manner we want all players to play and in my opinion, she made every effort to minimise the impact,” he said.
“AFLW players train incredibly hard for nine months for the opportunity to play just nine games.
“We feel it is unjust and disproportionate to have one third of those games taken away by what I believe to be an unavoidable incident.
“It’s important to not only support our players, but to question an outcome which we see as placing an unreasonable expectation on all players to avoid contact in circumstances where the ball is in dispute.”
The appeal hearing will likely be held on Thursday evening and Marinoff does not risk adding more games to her suspension if the appeal is unsuccessful — but there could be a financial cost to the club.
Earlier, Marinoff said she was “really disappointed” with the tribunal’s decision, saying it was “was never my intention to hurt Brid”.
“Every time I go onto the footy field I want to play hard but fair football and I believe that’s what I did on Sunday,” she said.
“I reached out to Brid to send her my best and I wish her a fast recovery.”
The incident occurred during a trial match at Norwood Oval on Sunday, and play was stopped in the fourth quarter.
Stack, 34, was left with a stable fracture of her C7 vertebra but no injury to surrounding nerves, and is expected to make a full recovery.
The Giants said Stack does not require surgery but will wear a neck brace in the short term.
It was Stack’s first AFLW game after moving to Australia with her husband and one-year-old son.
The former Gaelic footballer is an 11-time All-Ireland winner for Cork and was named the 2016 Ladies Footballer of the Year.