Collingwood star Steele Sidebottom has defended teammate Brayden Maynard as a “hard and fair” player as he awaits his Tribunal fate over the hit that concussed Demon Angus Brayshaw.
Maynard is facing three-plus weeks on the sidelines after electing to jump for the spoil and crashing heavily into Brayshaw in Thursday night’s qualifying final.
Brayshaw had to be stretchered from the field and took no further part in the game.
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But Sidebottom said it would have been “near on impossible” for Maynard, who is known around the league for his physicality, to avoid the collision.
“Why is he jumping in the air for a start? He was making a play at the footy,” Sidebottom told reporters on Monday.
“I think it was a footy play.
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“There was nothing malicious in it. Bruz (Maynard) is a fair player and it’s just unfortunate how it ended.
“He hasn’t ever really stepped over the line – when he goes out there to play, he plays hard and fair.
“Things are going to happen you can’t always control.
“What will happen will happen (at the Tribunal).”
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If Maynard can’t beat his rough conduct charge – or at least get the charge downgraded, his 2023 season will be over.
Sidebottom said while he hadn’t spoken to Maynard about the incident, the Pies veteran said there was a “process in place”.
“Clearly the main concern is for Angus,” he said.
“You don’t like to see anyone get concussed or knocked out so just hoping all the best for him.
“I’ve copped weeks before – you never go out there to hurt someone.
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“You don’t want to be missing games of footy… the game happens so fast.
“There’s times where things happen you almost can’t control.
“It’s a 360-degree game – there’s guys coming from everywhere.
“That’s the game that we play. Accidents are going to happen at times as well.”
Maynard’s case won’t be the only hearing at the Tribunal, with Carlton to challenge Jack Martin’s two-match ban for striking.
The Demons have already accepted the one-match ban handed to forward Jacob van Rooyen.