AAP AFL

Dustin fined for AFL umpire contact

By AAP Newswire

Richmond superstar Dustin Martin is still a chance to win a second Brownlow Medal this season after he was fined for making contact with an AFL umpire.

Martin can accept a $1,500 fine for a second offence of making careless contact with an umpire.

It had appeared the midfielder was set for a trip to the tribunal.

Martin made contact with umpire Jacob Mollison while trying to explain his actions after he conceded a free during the Tigers' win over Geelong at the MCG on Sunday.

Intentional umpire contact, regardless of the circumstances, has been deemed an offence worthy of direct referral to the tribunal under the league's match review guidelines.

Umpire contact has been a hot topic this season, with Carlton brothers Ed and Charlie Curnow, Gold Coast's Steven May, West Coast's Willie Rioli and Geelong's Tom Hawkins all charged.

May was later fined for careless contact by the tribunal after being directly referred for an intentional charge arising from an incident similar to Martin's.

It was that precedent that AFL match review officer Michael Christian used to grade Martin's contact as careless, despite the fact he clearly meant to touch the umpire.

"I think the provisions are really interesting around umpire contact - they aren't specific," Christian told reporters on Monday.

"Taking into account recent tribunal decisions, particularly the incident involving Steven May, it was decided to charge Dustin under the careless conduct provisions.

"I think it's important to say that because those guidelines aren't specific, at match review level, we've decided to interpret those guidelines for intentional umpire contact as being when a player disrespectfully, aggressively, dismissively or forcefully intentionally touches an umpire."

Essentially the league has changed the meaning of the word 'intentional', but given May's case, the decision to fine Martin is a common-sense approach.

No players were offered suspensions after Christian finished his review of round 13.

In the only other incident to attract a sanction, Port Adelaide's Robbie Gray accepted a fine for careless umpire contact during the Power's win over the Western Bulldogs.

Sydney superstar Lance Franklin had unfavourable diving comparisons with Richmond's Alex Rance when he drew a free on Friday night.

But Christian found he had no case to answer.