GEELONG star Tom Stewart is preparing to accept a lengthy suspension from the AFL tribunal for the heavy bump that concussed Richmond ace Dion Prestia.
The three-time All-Australian was referred directly to the tribunal and will learn the length of his ban through a virtual hearing on Tuesday night.
He is likely facing at least four weeks on the sidelines.
“I understood that I’d made a wrong decision and it still sits in my gut and still makes me feel quite ill,” Stewart told reporters on Monday.
“I understood that in that moment all I could do was try to help the team and unfortunately, whatever happens going forward, I can’t do that for however long that period is.
“I’m sort of at the mercy of the tribunal now.
“I understand that it was a poor act and a poor decision by myself but I have to live with that now.
“I think that’s the hardest thing for me.”
The AFL’s match review officer Michael Christian charged Stewart with rough conduct and graded the bump as careless conduct, severe impact and high contact.
Prestia had tapped the ball onwards to a teammate and the ball was metres away when Stewart made contact with the Tiger midfielder’s head.
A groggy Prestia was helped from the ground by trainers and subbed out for big man Ivan Soldo.
Former Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley believed a number of factors had to be taken into consideration when assessing the incident.
“Three (weeks) feels a little bit unders, so I settle on four, a month of footy,” he told SEN.
“(Richmond) lost a player (Prestia), there was a goal kicked while he was down on the ground, they lost the game by less than a goal, and the opposition get rewarded, in some sense, on the back of that action (by Stewart).”
Stewart was booed by the Tigers faithful every time he went near the ball but was still arguably best-on-ground in the three-point victory that hoisted the Cats to second on the ladder.
The issue sparked calls for a send-off rule to be brought in for similar incidents, but Sydney Swans coach John Longmire urged caution from the AFL.
“We have to make sure we don’t react to one incident,” Longmire said on Monday.
“If we’re going to go down the path of looking at that, there needs to be some more research put into how many times it happens and the impact of it.
“To just come off the back of one incident, it would be a bit reactionary.
“We need to just have a bit of a deep breath, see if it’s a real issue or not first.”
Geelong coach Chris Scott described Stewart as a “scrupulously fair player” and a “fantastic, strong character”.
“When I spoke to him post-game, he said, ‘I’ve just made a horrible error and I feel terrible about it. I ran past the ball and I chose to bump, I didn’t mean to do it but gee it was terrible execution and I’m going to pay the price for it’,” Scott said post-game.
“He knows he’s done the wrong thing.”
(C) AAP 2022