Akers out for Cats clash

Jason Akermanis after the finding last night.  
Wednesday, May 1
Geelong Advertiser

REIGNING Brownlow medallist Jason Akermanis became the second medal fancy within a week to be ruled ineligible for this year's award after last night admitting the umpire who reported him for misconduct made the right call.

Akermanis was found guilty at the tribunal of kneeing West Coast's Daniel Kerr in Saturday's game at Subiaco Oval.

The Brisbane midfielder was cited on video evidence for the incident, in which he appeared to drop his knee into the Eagle's upper thigh as Kerr lay at the bottom of a pack.

Akermanis, who was joint second favourite for this year's Brownlow before last night's hearing, is now out of contention for the award, a week after Adelaide star Andrew McLeod was ruled ineligible for striking Essendon's Matthew Lloyd.

In last night's other cases, Sydney midfielder Jude Bolton was suspended for two weeks for striking St Kilda's Jason Cripps while Western Bulldogs ruckman Luke Darcy was cleared of striking Melbourne's Shane Woewodin.

Akermanis told the tribunal he tried to provoke Kerr by pushing him with his hands as the pack formed, but was unaware he had made contact with his knee.

But while stressing his innocence, the Lion admitted the video footage of the incident looked bad.

He said he could understand why umpire Mark McKenzie laid a video charge after reviewing the game.

``If I was the umpire I probably would have thought there might be something in that and that I should take it to the tribunal,'' Akermanis said.

Akermanis will miss Saturday night's game against Geelong at the Gabba, but was philosophical outside the Brisbane offices where he had been on a video link with the tribunal.

``That's life, that's footy, let's move on,'' he said.

Bolton, who also appeared before the tribunal on a video link, pleaded guilty to striking Cripps.

Reporting umpire Kieron Nicholls said the Swan had made Cripps a ``soft target'' and that his contact was forceful and deliberate.

Darcy was cleared of striking Woewodin, the 2000 Brownlow medallist, and told the tribunal he was committed to trying to spoil the Demon as he waited to take a mark.

Darcy said he arrived too late to prevent Woewodin from marking and in trying to force a contest, made contact with his opponent's upper back.

When asked if he had felt contact to his head, Woewodin replied: ``None whatsoever''.

During the hearing Darcy made an impassioned plea to the tribunal that striking was not part of his game and that he was aggrieved at being called to answer the charge.

``It doesn't sit very comfortably with me to be accused of striking a champion like Shane Woewodin,'' he said.

``If that's a strike then I am playing the wrong game and I am devastated to be sitting here on a striking charge.''

Two more cases are scheduled for the tribunal tonight, with Melbourne's Stephen Powell charged with striking Bulldog Tony Liberatore and Richmond youngster Mark Coughlan to answer a charge of engaging in rough play against Hawthorn's Nick Holland.