Holman suspension overturned at AFL Tribunal

Gold Coast Suns defender Nick Holman is free to play in Round 11 after having his two-match ban for tackling Geelong’s Mitch Duncan overturned at the AFL Tribunal.

The incident was initially graded as careless conduct with high impact and high contact, but Holman had the ban reversed after pleading not guilty to the rough conduct charge.

Suns representative Stephen Russell argued that Holman’s tackle was within the rules of the game, suggesting that the 25-year-old had no chance to create a “power imbalance” typically seen in dangerous tackles.

“There’s no slinging action, there’s no spinning … no second action, no excessive force, no pushing into the ground, nothing of that sort at all, all within the rules of the game,” Russell said.

“There would need to be clear identification of something Holman did that another reasonable player did in the same circumstances would not have done. And that hasn’t been identified at all.

“It’s no action on the part of Holman that has led to the eventual injury that has occurred, but more Duncan trying to kick the ball.”

AFL representative Jeff Gleeson admitted Holman’s tackle was initially “terrific” but argued that a second driving action had put Duncan in danger.

“This starts off as a terrific tackle, there’s a run-down by Mr Holman. Mitch Duncan is about to kick the ball, you can assume Holman knows that. He lunges at him and applies a tackle,” he said.

“Mr Holman tries to, and succeeds in, pinning the right arm of Mr Duncan. And you can assume reasonably he knows he’s got his right arm pinned.

“He succeeds in preventing any effective kick, he knows Duncan’s collapsing and can’t kick it any more … it’s from the point at which the kick is ineffective, and known to be ineffective, that it’s open to you to conclude this second driving action happens.”

Holman was the only player to have a successful night at the Tribunal, with Richmond’s Marlion Pickett and Carlton’s Lachie Plowman having their respective bans upheld.

The Tribunal’s decision means Holman is now free to play in the Gold Coast’s Round 11 clash against Hawthorn at 7:40 pm AEST on Saturday night at TIO Stadium in Darwin.

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