Ling cited

Tuesday, July 16

THE Nathan Buckley blood smearing controversy had its sequel yesterday when Geelong midfielder Cameron Ling was cited on video evidence for striking Buckley.

Ling was charged with allegedly striking the Collinwood captain in the first quarter of Saturday's match.

The incident occurred just moments before Buckley and Ling were forced from the ground under the AFL's bloodrule after Buckley wiped blood from a gash to his head on Ling's jumper - an action for which Buckley will also have to answer the charge of misconduct tonight.

On Sunday Buckley told of his regret at smearing his blood stained head on Ling's jumper but declared there had been provocation prior to the incident.

``It's not pretty -there's definitely times in your career when you look back on things and aren't proud of them and that's one of them ... it's an act I'm not terribly proud of.

Buckley's actions caused outrage and split football experts on whether he should be fined or suspended.

Former Geelong captain and now a club employee Barry Stoneham called for Buckley to be suspended for at least two weeks describing his actions as a disgrace.

``It was one of the worst things you can do in football,'' he said.

``I think he should get at least 2-3 weeks regardless of who he is or what team he plays for.''

Former Hawthorn great and Brownlow medallist Robert DiPierdomenico went further and suggested 4-6 weeks, but a teammate, Jason Dunstall, described the controversy as ``over the top'' and ``ridiculous'' and that it was not a reportable offence.

Buckley is understood to have been asked by the AFL to explain why he shouldn't be slapped with a $5000 fine for speaking out about the impending case.

Ling's charge was laid by umpire Darren Morris after a video review of round 15 matches yesterday.

He is the first Geelong player this year to be reported and will front the AFL tribunal tonight.

A suspension would be major blow to Geelong, which will be aiming to record its seventh win on the trot this weekend against Essendon at Colonial Stadium.

Ling has been instrumental in the Cats' mid-season revival, blanketing successive opposing captains -Richmond's Wayne Campbell, West Coast's Ben Cousins and Buckley.

He said on Sunday that he was keen to add the scalp of Essendon skipper James Hird to that impressive list.