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Powell-Pepper cops four-match ban for 'careless' scratch-match collision

Jarred Cross -

Sam Powell-Pepper could miss the opening month of the premiership season after being handed a four-match ban for his scratch-match bump on Crow Mark Keane at the AFL tribunal on Wednesday.

The Port star made contact with Kean's head - resulting in concussion, which was graded careless, severe impact and high contact by the Match Review Officer with a three-match match ban recommended.

At the tribunal on Monday, the Powell-Pepper pleaded guilty to the charge with the Power requesting the sanction remain at three games before the panel laid down an additional week.

Port are considering their options for appealing the decision.

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Last year, a number of high bumps were handed three-match suspension, but recent tribunal rule changes allow for news standards with consideration to 'evolving community standards and an increased focus on reducing instances of avoidable, forceful high contact and preventing injuries'.

Tribunal chair Renee Enbom said it was unacceptable to deem "the conduct involved minimal culpability", labelled Powell-Pepper's action "careless" and saw he could have reasonably "anticipated the movement" of Keane while he was already being tackled, Fox Sports reports.

Giving evidence, Powell-Pepper said "It all happened very quickly" and it was his "sole intention to tackle".

The collision in question came while Keane was already being tackled by Willie Rioli.

Powell-Pepper's positioning of his right shoulder in the incident was also scrutinised.

"He had a duty to take reasonable care to avoid head high contact when seeking to assist in a tackle. He did not take any steps to avoid the contact that ultimately occurred," Enbom said.

It's not yet clear whether the Power's preseason game against Fremantle this week will be counted as one match, or if they will be served only in matches for premiership points.

If not, the 26-year-old will be unavailable until his club's April 13 tie with the Dockers.

According to reports, a biomechanist was called upon in Wednesday's hearing.

On Monday, Powell-Pepper conceded "it wasn't a good hit" and had contacted Keane after the match.

"It is never my intention to concuss anyone or hit anyone high. I think I play a tough, fair game and obviously got that one wrong," he told Channel 7.


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