Patrick Cripps in the clear over rough conduct charge

Patrick Cripps in the clear over rough conduct charge

He also claimed there was “a denial of natural justice”, which he argued was an error and “would have affected the result”.

Patrick Cripps bumps Callum Ah Chee.Credit:Fox Footy

Townshend went on to say Cripps’ turning of his body in the collision was to create a “chest mark” position and protect the drop zone, not to create “a classic bumping position”, as the court jury found.

Cripps’ counsel stressed it was a reasonable football act, as both players in the collision had eyes on the ball while it was in dispute, and if it was a reasonable act, it would deny the charges.

Nicholas Pane QC, counsel for the AFL, argued that in the matters of judgment presented by Carlton’s counsel, “…the original tribunal was best placed to address those matters…[Carlton] didn’t raise any matter sufficient to overturn their decision”.

Pane said a player could contest the ball and still bump their opponent, and the court determined the action constitutes a bump.

The appeals board heard the case after Carlton decided on Wednesday they would appeal the decision, in a last-ditch attempt to free their captain.

It was the first case to go to the league’s appeals board since the finals last year when the AFL appealed against the initial three-match suspension given to Toby Greene for making intentional contact with umpire Matt Stevic.

Cripps’ action was graded by match review officer Michael Christian as careless conduct, high contact and high impact, based on the skipper electing to leave the ground and Ah Chee forced from the ground with a concussion.

“No way I can contest that ball without a collision being there,” Cripps had said on Tuesday, arguing he made a genuine attempt to contest the ball.

“… If the ball is in dispute in an aerial contest, if that ball is in front of you and you can get it, you go for it. That’s your job as a footballer.”

However, this was found unsuccessful with chairman Jeff Gleeson arguing he turned his body into a classic bumping position, saying “…he entered the contest at speed…and bumped Ah Chee at high speed.”

“He should have answered the ball differently. He could have taken the ball with arms outstretched so there was no act of bumping at all,” said Gleeson.

The case will have a significant bearing of Carlton’s finals campaign.

To qualify for finals, the Blues will need to win at least one of their last two remaining games.

Cripps’ availability is all the more crucial, given the Blues’ midfield is already missing injured on-ballers George Hewett and Matt Kennedy.

The Blues have spent the entire season in the top eight, and a fortnight ago were in the hunt for a top-four finish but now are looking vulnerable to drop out of finals contention, and be overtaken by any two of Richmond, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs.

If they still make it to September, it will be Carlton’s first finals campaign since 2013 and Cripps’ maiden finals appearance.