De Goey, Cotchin cleared to play round one

Premiership hopefuls Collingwood and Richmond are breathing easy after Jordan De Goey and Trent Cotchin were handed only fines for on-field misdemeanours in practice matches over the weekend.

On a day Magpies great Nathan Buckley declared the art of tackling will be a difference maker in season 2023, De Goey was fined $3000, reduced to $2000 should he accept an early guilty plea, for his dangerous tackle on Hawthorn’s Lloyd Meek in Launceston on Thursday.

In the final minutes of Thursday’s practice match between the Magpies and Hawks, De Goey took Meek to the ground with a dump tackle where the young ruckman’s head bounced into the turf.

Jordan De Goey.Credit:Getty Images

Meek’s arms were not pinned, but the manner in which he hit the turf, having attempted to push off De Goey, was of concern.

The incident was graded by match review officer Michael Christian as careless conduct, high contact but low impact, meaning he escaped suspension. He is now free to line up against Geelong in next Friday’s round-one blockbuster at the MCG.

“The intent of the tackle was great, that’s how you want people to tackle, but it’s just the follow-through,” Melbourne great Garry Lyon said during commentary of the game on Fox Footy.

The incident came less than a year since De Goey was suspended for a sling tackle on Geelong champion Patrick Dangerfield and was suspended for a week. In that incident, Dangerfield’s arms were pinned.

De Goey’s absence would have been huge blow for the Magpies, for he has had a strong pre-season, and remains a legitimate match winner.

Tigers great Trent Cotchin was fined $1500, reduced to $1000 with an early guilty plea, for misconduct but is free to line-up in Richmond’s season-opener against Carlton.

Cotchin, the three-time premiership skipper, was involved in an incident behind the play on James Harmes in Saturday’s practice match at Casey Fields. The two players held each other, before Cotchin was found guilty of a forearm to the head, conceding a free kick.

“He just dropped a forearm,” former Saint Nick Dal Santo said in commentary.

Could Trent Cotchin hand the Richmond captaincy to great mate Dustin Martin?Credit:Getty Images

Cotchin has not been suspended since he was banned for four weeks for a heavy bump on North Melbourne’s Sam Wright in 2010. He has, however, been involved in other incidents, including being cleared of rough conduct after an incident that concussed Dylan Shiel in the 2017 preliminary final.

Meanwhile, Greater Western Sydney ruckman Braydon Preuss has escaped censure for what could have been a dangerous tackle on Gold Coast’s Tom Berry. Preuss’ tackle flipped Berry in mid-air. Press conceded a free kick, one of seven against him for the day. Berry’s teammates remonstrated with Preuss, the latter suspended three times last year.

Giants coach Adam Kingsley insisted Preuss did not have a case to answer.

“I thought his intention and his technique was outstanding. He got in low, tackled low. [Berry] jumped. That’s a part of the game,” Kingsley said.

Buckley said on Monday that tackling technique will be pivotal this season, as ball carriers become more skilful at taking on potential tacklers, who have the worry of not just ceding a free kick but being suspended if something goes wrong.

Buckley said tackling “feels like it will impact more games than we know going into this year for a few reasons”.

“I’m not just talking about intensity, but the technique and capacity to tackle well as a team,” he told SEN.

“The ball carrier is taking on tacklers more than ever, and that’s being coached. It seems like there’s more ways to give frees away. If you tackle too aggressively and sling you don’t just give a free away, you can get a week.

“The players let themselves go forward better than they ever have to force pushes in the back, we see arms being lifted to encourage a high-tackle, knees are being dropped a little bit. Even the capacity for a small defender or key defender to tackle a player in the opposition forward 50 – that skill could be the difference between winning and losing.”

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