After a long wait at the tribunal last night the news was bad for North Melbourne and its followers last night after Jack Ziebell was suspended for four matches on a rough conduct charge. But the post-penalty Twitter outrage over the penalty has added to the Roos’ problems
The story begins with a penalty that arose from a high bump that Ziebell delivered on Carlton’s Aaron Joseph during the second quarter of last Friday night’s game at Etihad Stadium.
The Kangaroos and Ziebell rolled the dice on the penalty, opting to forgo the three match penalty on offer for an early plea at the Match Review Panel but taking the risk that the tribunal would enforce the full four match ban.
And that was just what happened.
In his argument to the tribunal, Ziebell and his defence counsel Will Houghton, QC, said that the contact occurred when midfielder was legitimately pursuing a loose ball. Ziebell himself added that he thought that he had a chance to win the ball, but had to go pretty hard off the mark in order to do so.
But the tribunal jury instead took the view that Ziebell had alternatives means of contesting the ball available to him rather than the leap that brought him into high-contact with Joseph.
While disappointed, the club has said that it will not contest the penalty.
The verdict capped a big night at the tribunal and for three hours Ziebell cooled his heels while the tribunal dealt with Chris Judd and the infamous “chicken wing” incident.
In a finding that had fans on Twitter up in arms, Judd was also handed down a four week suspension.
And then things took off again.
That Ziebell should have had the same penalty imposed on his actions was especially galling for the North Melbourne faithful and many of them took to Twitter making a point of roundly criticising the AFL for handing Ziebell the same penalty as Judd and both of them more time than the three match ban that Collingwood’s Sharrod Wellingham received for breaking the jaw of Carlton’s Kade Simpson just last month.
In a twist to what has already been a dramatic series of events reports have now emerged that the AFL will look into specific tweets made by Ziebell’s team mates Drew Petrie and Majak Daw that publicly criticised the league.
While Daw has since deleted the comment he had re-tweeted, Petrie’s comments remain online:
It remains to be seen what penalties, if any, the AFL will hand out although the precedent has already been set after it fined Carlton’s Marc Murphy, Jeremy Laidler and Jarrad Waite were fined $7,500 for crticising the umpiring decisions in their loss to West Coast in Round 12.
If a penalty is handed out to Petrie and/or Daw we can only imagine the outrage that will ensue.
For those of you that missed it, here is the video of the incident: