Appeal against three-week penalty labelled 'inadequate' by AFL chief

THE South West Football League has appealed against the leniency of the three-week penalty handed down to Heathmere's Will Pickett for breaking a 17-year-old’s jaw in an off-the-ball incident.

AFL Victoria chief executive officer Steven Reaper said this morning that the league had appealed the decision and a hearing was expected to be scheduled next week in Melbourne.

Pickett received a three-week penalty at a South West league independent tribunal hearing on Monday night last week.

He was charged in relation to an off-the-ball incident during a match on July 28 which left 17-year-old Branxholme-Wallacedale player Sam Lambevski with a multiple fractures to his jaw and concussion.

Pickett, 28, is on parole for armed robbery and assault and was wearing an ankle bracelet during the game.

The Heathmere player was charged by police last Friday night with recklessly causing serious injury, recklessly causing injury and breaching parole. 

He was bailed to appear at Portland Magistrates Court on 16 October. 

Last Friday AFL chief Gillon McLachlan requested Reaper look into the circumstances surrounding the three-week penalty, saying on radio: "It seems an inadequate sanction".

Today Reaper said it was the role of AFL Victoria to overview football at the community level statewide.

He said his review had been completed and the South West league had appealed against the leniency of the three-week penalty handed down by the league's independent tribunal.

The South West Football League is run by the AFL Western District Commision and the league does not have an independent executive.

Reaper said the appeal would be heard within the next fortnight when all parties were available.

"​Those hearings are generally heard in Melbourne," he said.

​"I understand the injured player is receiving medical treatment this week, so the hearing is likely to be held next week."

​Reaper confirmed AFL Victoria had extended the usual appeal deadline after the SWFL decided to contest the leniency of the tribunal penalty at the weekend.

​He said that technically the appeal deadline was last Thursday, but AFL Victoria had discretion and had extended the appeal time frame.