Turbo boost: B&F hopes still alive as star Docker's ban downgraded

FREMANTLE star Kiara Bowers is free to take on North Melbourne and is still hot favourite for the AFLW best and fairest award after her one-match suspension was downgraded to a $400 fine at the Tribunal.

The dangerous tackle against Eden Zanker was originally graded as careless conduct, medium impact and high contact, but Fremantle successfully argued it should be considered as low impact.

The tackle that has Bowers' B&F hopes in tatters

00:25 Mar 23. 2021. 9:22 AM

Fremantle's Kiara Bowers charged with 'rough conduct' for this tackle on Melbourne's Eden Zanker

As it is Bowers' second dangerous tackle charge this season, the change in grading has resulted in a fine, rather than a reprimand.

The Tribunal panel of Richard Loveridge, Paul Williams and Jason Johnson took just seven minutes to decide to downgrade the charge.

"We're overwhelmed and really happy with the outcome. Kiara's going to be available to play this weekend against North Melbourne," Fremantle footy operations and performance manager Joe Brierty said.

"She's obviously a very important player for us and it's a big game for us as we play one of the top teams of the competition, hopefully we'll get the win and then prepare for finals. 

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"It was a really good argument tonight from our legal counsel in Seamus Rafferty and it's a fantastic outcome."

Zanker was awarded a free kick for the tackle and subsequently played out the match.

The medical report from the club doctor stated the Demon would not miss any training or matches, but required ongoing physio and medication for mild neck pain.

While Fremantle accepted the tackle was dangerous, they presented three examples of tackles which had resulted in MRO charges.

Melbourne's Eden Zanker in action against Fremantle in round eight on March 21, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

Like Maddy Prespakis' failed bid to overturn a one-match ban earlier this year, two incidents shown were Georgie Rankin against Sophie Conway in round two, 2020 (graded low impact, reprimand) and Ashlee Atkins against Shae Audley in round seven, 2018 (graded medium, one-match ban).

Audley was concussed as a result of the tackle and needed to leave the field.

The final example was from last year's semi-final between North Melbourne and Collingwood, which saw Britt Gibson handed a reprimand for a tackle against Ebony O'Dea that was graded low impact.

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The Dockers also argued Zanker's momentum had contributed to the incident, given she was moving forwards and had tried to fend the midfielder off.

The AFL's counsel Nicholas Pane reminded the Tribunal that the classification of charges can also include the potential to cause serious injury and said Zanker was tipped into the ground.

The panel decided the grading should be changed from medium to low.

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