ST KILDA forward Dan Butler has had his controversial ban for a dangerous tackle on Sydney’s Nick Blakey thrown out by the AFL Tribunal.
Butler is now free to face his former club Richmond on Saturday, the Tribunal finding he hadn’t breached his duty of care in his run-down tackle of Blakey last Thursday night.
The Saint’s livewire told the Tribunal he’d tried to roll with the tackle so as not to give away a push in the back free kick and argued he’d had no choice but to tackle as “I don’t want to get dropped”.
His lawyer said there was no alternative but to tackle and pointed out Butler had released Blakey’s arms before he made contact with the ground so he could brace his fall.
Tribunal chairman Jeff Gleeson agreed and his panel dismissed the charge, finding Butler’s momentum made some contact with the ground inevitable.
“He had dropped to the side, had no real power from the commencement of the tackle … he did not drive Blakey to the ground with his arms,” he said.
“Rather, he fell to the ground with Blakey as a result of the momentum of the tackle … he released Blakey’s defensive arm.”
AFL counsel Sally Flynn had submitted there were two motions in his tackle – pinning the arms, then driving Blakey to the ground – adding he didn’t need to go through with the driving motion.
Butler replied he was at maximum speed when he made the tackle so there it was “almost impossible” to not take him to the ground.
Gleeson said the Tribunal panel did not agree there were two motions in the tackle.
Blakey’s head hit the ground in the incident and he was substituted out of the game but was later cleared of concussion.
Richmond forward Rhyan Mansell will face the Tribunal next for his bump on James Aish in the Tigers’ 15-point win over Fremantle on Saturday night.