AAP AFL

Giants face tough stretch without stars

By AAP Newswire

Greater Western Sydney must attack a pivotal stretch of their AFL campaign without gun forward Jeremy Cameron.

The AFL tribunal slapped Cameron with a five-game ban on Tuesday night after he was found guilty of striking Brisbane's Harris Andrews.

The Giants could ill-afford to lose the 25-year-old, who joins Brett Deledio (calf), Toby Greene (foot), Rory Lobb (back) and Tom Scully (ankle) on the sidelines.

Tenth-placed GWS host ninth-ranked Hawthorn on Saturday night with games against West Coast, Richmond, Port Adelaide and St Kilda to follow.

Their finals chances largely rest on their ability to successfully navigate the tough run of games without those key players.

Cameron, who is second on the Coleman Medal leaderboard with 35 goals from 12 games, will return in round 20 when GWS play Carlton at Etihad Stadium.

The star forward was widely condemned for his crude hit on Andrews that saw the young Lion hospitalised with a severe concussion.

Match review officer Michael Christian referred Cameron directly to the tribunal after he graded the incident from Saturday's clash at the Gabba as intentional conduct, severe impact and high contact.

Cameron, who flew from Sydney to appear at the hearing at AFL House in Melbourne, entered a plea of not guilty to intentional conduct and guilty to careless conduct.

But the jury of Jason Johnson, David Neitz and Shane Wakelin disagreed, finding him guilty as charged after 33 minutes of deliberation.

"I'd just like to say that I didn't mean to hurt Harris," Cameron told reporters as he left the nearly two-hour long hearing.

"Unfortunately I did and I'm very sorry for that. I hope he gets back to playing football very soon.

"I think it was a fair hearing (but) my main concern at the moment is around Harris and his family ... I'm sure it caused him a lot of stress over the past few days.

"I'm looking forward to seeing him back on the field where he belongs."

After the guilty verdict was reached, the Giants argued for a four-match ban, while AFL counsel Nick Pane QC made submissions for a six-game suspension.

The jury took just two minutes of deliberation to split the difference and out Cameron for five.