COBDEN defender Aidan Cole has avoided suspension despite an independent tribunal finding him guilty of unbecoming conduct for a “careless” kneeing action.
Cole pleaded not guilty of the charge, which was laid following an investigation into an incident against Hamilton Kangaroos on July 15 which left Kangaroos youngster Lachy Dawson with sore ribs, forcing him to sit out the following week.
Following video evidence and submissions by investigating officer Mark Glenister, Cole and his advocate Bill Saunders, the tribunal deliberated for 20 minutes before finding Cole guilty of kneeing Dawson, labelling the action “careless”.
They needed just two minutes to come back with a reprimand for his sanction.
Chairman Terry O’Keefe said the tribunal agreed the incident was “totally uncustomary” for Cole and did not feel it was necessary for him to miss any matches for it.
Glenister said while he believed there was no evidence to indicate it was an intentional act, the action was careless.
“I think the footage clearly shows that Mr Cole initiated the movement towards Mr Dawson and he does so with his knee raised,” he said.
Saunders argued that Cole had no momentum behind him as he jumped with a raised knee to intercept what he assumed would be a high handball, and that the contact came about when another Bomber, Louis Cahill, tackled Dawson, bringing him into Cole’s path.
Cole, who said he had no recollection of the incident, labelled it an “in-play” action and noted there was no malice or retribution directed his way by Dawson’s teammates.