AFL: Lions hoping to secure first Gabba win of season


Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan is adamant that Charlie Cameron’s exemplary record and character assessments from an AFL career spanning more than 200 games wasn’t the “main reason” his one-game suspension for a dumping tackle on Jake Lever was reduced to a fine.

The AFL tribunal’s divisive decision to lessen Cameron’s sanction despite not changing the offence from “medium impact” to “low impact” will allow Brisbane’s star forward to play against Geelong at the Gabba on Saturday night.

Fagan made no apologies for the Lions using whatever means possible to free Cameron to play but argued that the main reason the punishment was reduced was because of the lack of “impact” the tackle had on Melbourne’s Lever in Brisbane’s 22-point win at the MCG last Thursday.

“When you go to the tribunal, you use everything at your disposal to try to free up your player, which every club does,” Fagan said.

“And if the bloke’s got a good record, he’s played 200 games, and he’s never been suspended for a match, you would at least give that a mention, otherwise you’d be missing your duty to that player.

“It was mentioned, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the main reason why (the sanction was reduced to a fine).

“If you look at that incident, and you look at Lever, we’re talking about impact here. To me impact is impact.

“Was Jake Lever hurt? No he wasn’t. Did he go off for a concussion test? No he didn’t. Was there a medical report from the Melbourne Football Club about his condition? No there wasn’t, so on every measure, the impact of that incident was low.

“Some of the instances we showed to the tribunal, where the MRO had rated those instances as low impact, looked of greater impact than what Charlie’s actually was.

“I’m talking about the impact here, not the potential for serious injury, just the impact.

“If you look at just the impact, there was a really strong argument that it was low. That’s why we argued.”

Fagan said Cameron had not been affected by the furore over the decision that had allowed him to take on the undefeated Cats.

“He’s fine. He’s used to a lot of commentary and a lot of vitriolic stuff on social media and whatever else people want to throw at him,” the Lions coach said.

“He’s a tough guy. He’s happy that he’s playing. He’s looking forward to the game.”

The Lions are chasing a third successive win and also their first home victory of the season after Gabba losses to Carlton and Collingwood.

“We haven’t won at the Gabba this year yet, so we can’t hang our hat on home ground form at the moment,” Fagan said.

“From our perspective we probably see ourselves as the underdogs in this game.”

Fagan said midfielder Jarryd Lyons, who was brought into the 23 for the injured Zac Bailey (ankle), would be Brisbane’s substitute.

He also said a nine-day break between matches had aided superstar Lachie Neale’s bid to manage his ankle injury.

“There’s a little bit more time to not have to train. He trained well on Thursday … so he’s feeling better than he has done in the past couple of weeks which is great,” Fagan said.

“It’s a good effort by him to play under the circumstances. He’s been playing well too, not just going out there, but actually playing well.”

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