ADELAIDE star Ebony Marinoff has been suspended for three weeks for the tackle which resulted in a broken C7 vertebra for Giant Brid Stack.
It is the longest suspension in the four-and-a-bit seasons of the AFLW, with no player having been banned for more than two matches.
Marinoff had been charged with forceful front-on contact – graded careless, severe impact and high contact – from the fourth-quarter incident during Sunday’s practice match, and the case had been referred directly to the Tribunal.
"I'm really disappointed with this outcome, it was never my intention to hurt Brid," Marinoff said after the hearing.
"Every time I go onto the footy field I want to play hard but fair football and I believe that's what I did on Sunday.
"I reached out to Brid to send her my best and I wish her a fast recovery."
>>WATCH THE INCIDENT IN THE VIDEO ABOVE
The game was called off in the final minutes, with Stack needing to be taken to hospital for spinal precautions. No damage was done to the surrounding nerves in the Irishwoman’s neck and surgery was not needed.
It was the Gaelic footballer’s first taste of AFLW footy. She will wear a neck brace in the short term.
Marinoff, a two-time premiership player with the Crows, was unable to accept an early guilty plea as a result of the incident being referred to the Tribunal.
The 2017 NAB AFLW Rising Star winner had not previously been charged by the MRO.
As the fixture stands, Marinoff will miss games against Melbourne, Gold Coast and Western Bulldogs.
Crows head of women's football Phil Harper said the club would assess its options whether to appeal the verdict.
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Marinoff pleaded not guilty to the careless conduct, citing:
- she was contesting the football, which had changed direction, and only saw Stack a split-second before contact was made;
- she did not have a viable alternative given the incident happened in the space of a few seconds;
- and simultaneous contact from Alyce Parker on Marinoff's left (and Parker's boot in front of her own) caused her to make contact with Stack's head on Marinoff's right.
The AFL's counsel, Andrew Woods, argued it was front-on contact (rather than from the side), that Stack was in a vulnerable position and Marinoff should have slowed or stopped before tackling the Giant.
He did not agree with Marinoff's view of the timing of the Parker contact, arguing it came after the Crow had made contact with Stack.
The jury of Jason Johnson, Paul Williams and Stephen Jurica took around 45 minutes to find Marinoff had a case to answer.
Woods suggested three weeks would be an adequate penalty, given the guidelines set out by the MRO for incidents graded careless, severe impact and high contact.
Marinoff's counsel Ben Armstrong pointed out the nine-week nature of the AFLW season and her clean record despite leading the competition in cumulative tackles over four seasons, however the jury decided to stick with the guidelines.