New MRP whacks Gray for a game
PORT Adelaide star midfielder-forward Robbie Gray will miss the start of the AFL premiership season if the Power accepts the first major statement from the league's new lone-hand tribunal reviewer, Michael Christian.
Gray has been handed by Christian a one-match ban for his bump on West Coast defender Jeremy McGovern from Sunday's JLT Community Series match at Leederville Oval in Perth.
This puts Gray, if he accepts the verdict, out of the AFL premiership season-opener against Fremantle at Adelaide Oval on Saturday, March 24.
However, Gray can still play in the JLT closer against Adelaide in the summer Showdown at Alberton Oval on Saturday week.
Christian, who this year replaces the three-man match review panel to be the lone judge on reportable incidents, ruled Gray was "careless" in his conduct and made "medium impact" to McGovern's head.
The Eagle did not play out the game after the bump.
Gray must pay a $10,000 fee to challenge Christian with a tribunal hearing. His penalty cannot be increased beyond one game if the tribunal agrees with Christian's verdict.
Port Adelaide returned from Perth on Monday afternoon with no previous line in the sand from Christian to use as a marker on how the Gray bump would be judged.
Port Adelaide midfield coach Michael Voss was among those watching Christian's verdict as a guide to the new AFL match review process.
"It's a new system, so we all sit back and wait for that new system to be rolled out," Voss said before Christian's ruling.
"One person is making the adjudications, so we wait and see ...
"But it was a pretty close contest, one of those 50-50 balls so it will be interesting to see which way it goes.
"It is irrelevant what I see (in the incident) ... it is what (Michael Christian) sees.
"You treat every incident as it is and try to get every (verdict) right. We have a new system and we are all waiting to find out what that looks like."
Port Adelaide closes the pre-season on Saturday week with a JLT summer Showdown with the Crows at Alberton Oval.
Free-agent recruit Steven Motlop returned from the loss to West Coast at Leederville Oval in Perth with a slight leg injury.