Rugby League

Dees to challenge Hunter suspension; Dogs defender out for months

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Melbourne will challenge wingman Lachie Hunter’s one-match ban for his bump on Port Adelaide midfielder Connor Rozee on Friday night.

It will be the Demons’ second trip to the AFL Tribunal in three weeks after they successfully beat young forward Jacob van Rooyen’s striking suspension at a marathon Thursday night appeals board hearing.

The Hunter incident occurred after he and Rozee ran from opposite directions towards the Sherrin in the final minute of the third quarter of the Power’s four-point victory at Adelaide Oval.

Connor Rozee is hit by Lachie Hunter. Credit: Mark Brake, Getty Images

Rozee arrived first and paddled the ball forwards, before Hunter turned his body and made contact to the head of the Port star, who went to ground but played the match out.

Match review officer Michael Christian assessed the incident as careless conduct, medium impact and high contact, resulting in a one-match offer. A low-impact assessment would have cost Hunter only a fine.

The 28-year-old former Western Bulldog has been suspended just once previously in his 183-match career, and that was five years ago for one match for rough conduct. But it is his second straight week with match review attention, after he was fined $1500 for unsportsmanlike conduct in Melbourne’s victory over Hawthorn.

In a bizarre incident, Hunter rushed from the interchange bench to gesture to first-year Hawk Josh Weddle, who was running the ball out of defence.

The Demons host in-form Fremantle at the MCG on Saturday, and will be keen to rebound from their loss to the Power.

Port Adelaide announced on Monday they were accepting captain Tom Jonas’ one-game sanction for a rough conduct charge on Melbourne forward Tom McDonald. Jonas will miss the Power’s clash with Richmond at the MCG on Sunday as they chase an eighth win in a row. – Marc McGowan

Dogs speedster sidelined

Western Bulldogs defender Jason Johannisen’s career resurgence is on hold for at least two months after scans confirmed he suffered a high-grade hamstring strain in Saturday’s win over Adelaide.

The Dogs subbed the 30-year-old out of the game in the third quarter of the game in Ballarat after what the club’s head of sports medicine, Chris Bell, described as an “over-stretching” injury at speed.

Johannisen is averaging his most disposals (19) in four seasons since coach Luke Beveridge ditched the experiment of playing him as a forward, and the number would be higher if not for his early weekend exit.

Sidelined: Bulldogs defender Jason Johannisen.Credit: Getty Images

“Our clinical suspicions of a high-grade injury were confirmed with the MRI that showed extensive damage,” Bell said. “JJ is the ultimate professional and will get to work with our rehab team to get back playing this home-and-away season, but we anticipate that he will miss eight to 10 games.”

In better news, fellow defender Josh Bruce will be available for selection after recovering from injuring multiple ribs in a collision with Port Adelaide’s Jed McEntee during Gather Round in mid-April.

But Adam Treloar (hamstring) is set to miss another match, while Sam Darcy (lung), Roarke Smith (foot), Dom Bedendo (groin) and Riley Garcia (groin) are all likely to be several weeks off.
– Marc McGowan

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