NORTH Ballarat defender Michael Searl believes the reported incident that resulted in Richmond-listed Angus Graham being red-carded helped swing the game in the Roosters’ favour at Eureka Stadium on Saturday.
Graham was cleared from the incident at the VFL tribunal last night despite the umpire being 20m away from the incident and deeming it to intentional. Graham was red-carded mid-way through the second term and also suffered an ankle injury out of the incident.
Graham had out-marked Searl in the marking contest but it appeared through video evidence that Searl had stepped on Graham’s foot when landing which caused the ankle injury.
Searl said the game between Coburg and North Ballarat was “in the balance” at the time.
Graham said it important to clear his name last night.
“You cop a bad reputation when you try to kick someone and I haven’t tried to kick someone, people read about it and for me to be red-carded which hasn’t happened in two years and Richmond supporters to think that I’ve lost it at VFL level and don’t care,” he said.
“I’m pretty disappointed about the whole thing.”
Searl said via a conference call last night that he believes Graham had thrown his leg out in the air out of frustration.
“I think it was an act of frustration from his behalf and as he’s on the ground he’s thrown a leg out at me,” Searl said.
“When he went to the ground he grimaced because he hurt his ankle…as he’s on the ground he’s a little bit and he lashed out.
The result also prevented any complications from the VFL fixture in which Coburg had a bye directly after a state game.
The three man panel adjudicated that there was no contact with Searl from the kick.
“The charge of course was for kicking. We’re not satisfied at the tribunal that you actually made contact with player Searl and the charge as a result the charge was sustained,” chairman Eddie Power said.
Graham is in doubt for this week because of the ankle injury in which he described as “swollen and bruised”.
Graham was the first player to be red-carded in a VFL match since Port Melbourne’s Toby Pinwill in the 2010 finals series. Some disagree with the rule.
Tigers ruckman Andrew Browne was handed a $400 fine for contact with an umpire in the same match but remains available for a recall should Richmond need him against the Bombers. He was one of the best Richmond-listed players in Coburg’s loss to the Roosters on Saturday.
Tell us what you think. Do you agree with the red-card rule in the VFL?