Wednesday, July 17

NATHAN BUCKLEY was last night suspended for one match by the AFL tribunal for a ``deliberate and calculated'' ploy to force Geelong's Cameron Ling from the field by smearing blood on his guernsey.

In a precedent case for the AFL, the Collingwood captain pleaded guilty to the charge but refused to use provocation as a defence.

``No amount of provocation justified doing what I did'' said Buckley, who is now ineligible to win the Brownlow Medal.

Council representating Buckley, Sean Carroll, asked the five time best and fairest winner be exonerated from suspension but be slapped with a substantial fine. But in sentencing tribunal chairman Brian Collis QC, said Buckley showed a blatant disregard for the AFL rules.

``It is clear to us the action was a deliberate and calculated move to exploit the rules for his own purpose,'' Collis said.

Buckley, 29, was booked by field umpire Darren Morris late in the first quarter of the Cats' 28-point victory under ``any act of misconduct''.

He was ordered off the field in the first quarter bleeding from a deep cut to his eyebrow caused by Ling's elbow.

It was this hit from Ling that saw the young Cat rubbed out for one match at last night's media packed hearing. As he left the field Buckley wiped blood on the jumper of Ling.

At the hearing Buckley repeated Sunday's public apology, saying he was not proud of the controversial action.

``I knew with blood in the guernsey, he (Ling) would have to leave the arena,'' Buckley said.

A medical expert, Dr Clayton Gollige, told the tribunal the risk was zero that Ling would contract a blood borne disease from contact with Buckley.

On a more personal note the Collingwood champion testified he had been in a monogamous relationship for two years and had numerous blood tests, including an examination for HIV over the time.