GREATER Western Sydney's Bríd Stack has revealed that she broke down in tears when learning of the Appeals Board's decision to overturn Ebony Marinoff's three-match ban.
Stack was left with a fractured neck from the incident two weeks ago, but after a marathon hearing on Thursday night, the star Crow was eventually found not guilty of forceful front-on contact.
Writing for the Irish Examiner, Stack said she was 'totally disheartened' by the decision.
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"After sitting down to watch the second half (of Carlton-Collingwood), the news came up on a strapline across the bottom of the screen at the end of the third quarter that Marinoff had been cleared. My heart just sank. I broke down in tears," she wrote.
"Within minutes, my team-mate Cora Staunton, Alicia, the team captain, and our head coach Alan McConnell, were in the apartment, trying to console me. I was beside myself with anger. Disillusionment. I felt so totally disheartened by the outcome.
"My emotions almost felt trapped in this vortex of disbelief because I suddenly felt like a scapegoat. The emotional trauma of dealing with such a serious injury was exacerbated when the blame for what had happened suddenly seemed to be sitting at my door."
The appeal was initially adjourned for seven days after the Crows attempted to bring in new evidence that suggested Stack suffered the injury in the first quarter, which she described as 'laughable'
"The trial by social media over here has still left a really bitter taste in my mouth. The Crows had every right to appeal the original three-match ban but some of the evidence in their argument was laughable — they tried to suggest that I got injured in the first quarter," she continued.
"I remember that incident as clear as day. I cleared a pass down by the boundary and a number of Crows players descended on me to bump me once I had done so. I was knocked over the boundary line but I got up immediately and played on.
"To me, using that case-example as a defence was like trying to say that the blood gushing from a wound from someone who had been shot, had come from a cut on their finger almost an hour earlier.
"I’d be some woman if I broke my neck in the first quarter and kept playing until the fourth quarter.
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"That sums it all up. To me, it was too easy to blame a ‘rookie’. It may be a different game, but I have played football all my life. I know how to protect myself.
"I’ve played in enough big games to know it’s not chess. But it’s even harder again to take when your character is being questioned by people who don’t know you."
Stack also said she "didn't want Marinoff to be hammered for the incident", but expected the Tribunal to determine the Crow didn't show any duty of care.
The 34-year-old has another follow-up X-ray next week, but is expected to be in a neck brace for six weeks and it could be another six weeks before she can play again.
Stack is also preparing for a potentially awkward flight back to Adelaide on Sunday with the Giants and Crows on the same plane.
"Our pre-booked seats have us down the back of the plane. Ebony Marinoff will be up the front. If the Crows board first, I’ll probably pass her on the way to my seat," she said.
"You couldn’t make some of this stuff up."
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