Sydney's Lance Franklin collects Fremantle's Joel Hamling. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Sydney's Lance Franklin collects Fremantle's Joel Hamling. Picture. Phil Hillyard

Buddy in clear over Hamling hit

SYDNEY superstar Lance Franklin is free to play the Brisbane Lions this weekend after the AFL's match review officer cleared him over an incident that left Fremantle opponent Joel Hamling concussed.

No players face suspension following Round 9 matches, with five players - Lion Dayne Zorko, Freo's Darcy Tucker, Saint Jack Newnes, Blue Lochie O'Brien and GWS youngster Jacob Hopper - facing fines.

Franklin's incident was the major talking point from the Swans' big win over Fremantle on Saturday night.

He collected the ball when Fremantle opponents swarmed, 'Buddy' lifting his arms and swinging with sufficient force to split Hamling's chin open - and leave the Docker concussed.

When Freo emerged from the rooms after the main break Hamling had been ruled out of the contest, having failed a concussion test.

But match review officer Michael Christian has given the action the green light, saying Franklin was trying to fend off the tackler and his actions were "not unreasonable in the circumstances".

"That's going to be a really tough one for the MRO to assess," commentator Paiul Roos said after the incident on Saturday night.

 

Mark Ricciuto labelled it a "blatant hit to the head" but agreed that with Franklin, in possession and trying to free his arms in the tackle, it would not be an easy call for the AFL's under-fire judicial system.

Hamling left the field before motioning to return just before half-time. But he was deemed unfit to return to the ground.



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