Brisbane’s Jarrod Berry says there was “nothing purposeful” about the contact with Melbourne rival Clayton Oliver during his third term at the MCG.
And the Lions center is not worried about a potential Match Review ban, saying the moment was “just a little scuffle in the middle of the MCG” and “part of the competition”.
Berry could become the third Lion to be suspended for the finals of this series, after both Cam Rayner and Noah Answerth missed the finals win over Richmond in Week 1.
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There has been no love lost between Brisbane and the Demons in recent games, with their last outing marred by a sledging scandal.
And it was no different in Friday evening’s semi-final, when Oliver filed a complaint with the referees in the late phase of the competition about alleged eye-scratching.
As the two grappled with Berry pinned by Oliver at the MCG over the top, vision showed the lion reaching up to his opponent’s face.
“I don’t want to use the word eyesore but we know when you get in that situation sometimes you do things to get out of it,” Fox Footy’s Garry Lyon said.
“Any hand around the eye or movement around the eye will always be something that the MRO looks at very strictly.
“It’s the first movement—it’s a slight raking movement of the eyes. I don’t think you can be blamed a bit for that.”
Nathan Buckley admitted it was a “really bad moment” from Berry and said he was “not in a great position”.
“This is so bittersweet. The thing that won them that game is that tackle (Berry on Oliver) and that second-half performance from the youngster, but it’s very unlikely we’ll see that next week given that incident,” Buckley said.
Fox Footy panelist Nick Riewoldt tried to mount a case in Berry’s defence.
“I think you have to consider that Berry is on her back with her hand over her face/neck. You’re pretty defenseless in that situation,” he said.
“(Berry’s actions are) going to be condemned.”
“That will be a defense—that he is defenseless on the ground.
Journalist Jon Ralph told Fox Footy that there was something in the “defenseless defense” if the MRO was citing Berry’s actions.
“I think he’s in contention,” he said.
“He doesn’t even have to be found guilty of gouging the eyes … all he needs to be found guilty is unnecessary or disproportionate eye contact.”
“If it’s judged to be intentional, a minor impact to the face or eyes, then it’s a one-week suspension.”
“If he can chalk it up to carelessness – (arguing) ‘I wasn’t looking at him, I wasn’t sure what I was doing, it was an escape move’, that’s the best option for him to play. “
The moment spoiled a brilliant effort by Berry to turn the game in Brisbane’s favour.
After being held by young rival Deven Robertson in the opening half, Lions coach Chris Fagan made a tactical move to move Berry onto Oliver for the second half.
And Lev immediately got under Oliver’s skin.
Immediately after the brawl on the turf, Oliver was clearly seen gesturing with his face to the referees.
“That will dominate the conversation next week,” Lyon said.
“Not a great look.
“There will be a world of pain if they get through this.
Match Review will now have a say on whether Berry faces Geelong in the preliminary final next week.
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