Luke Hodge and a neurosurgeon have teamed up to free Jarrod Berry from Brisbane for Friday’s AFL preliminary round finals against Geelong.
The talented Lion’s one-match ban was overturned at Tuesday night’s tribunal hearing, with Berry’s team successfully arguing his hand contact with Melbourne’s Clayton Oliver’s face was justified and not intentional.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Jarrod Berry and Clayton Oliver tangle
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Berry’s availability is a huge boost for the Lions, who are targeting their first final in 18 years given the 24-year-old’s starring role in their win over the Demons.
Brisbane called on Hawthorn captain Hodge, a three-time prime minister, and traumatic brain injury specialist Damian Armato as witnesses during a hearing that stretched over three hours.
Hodge, who starred with Berry during a two-year stint in Brisbane, vouched for his character while Armato argued he was placed in a “very vulnerable” position by Oliver.
The doctor believed, contrary to AFL adviser Nick Pane’s claims, that Berry’s actions were not a deliberate raking of Oliver’s face but rather “instinctive, flailing movements” to protect himself.
Tribunal Chairman Jeff Gleeson and the panel agreed, Gleeson summing up that Berry “was in danger” and it was “a natural human reaction.”
He said the tribunal was unconvinced that Berry knew or could feel where Oliver’s face and eyes were.
He also said Oliver’s arm position meant that Berry’s arm movement was limited and “limited the ability to do a lot more.”
Grilled by Pane, Berry stood his ground when told he had dragged Oliver to the ground, had a clear view of his opponent’s face and had his eyes aimed.
When asked why he hadn’t protested Oliver’s rough treatment by the referees, Berry said he “didn’t try to score a free-kick”.
There were some awkward moments in the online hearing when Lions attorney Adrian Anderson referred to Berry as “Jacob” multiple times.
Anderson also argued that Berry was acting in self-defense to avoid potential pressure on his airway and oxygen restriction, while also trying not to question Oliver’s behavior.
Berry, who said he has not been reported or suspended at any level of football, also showed the tribunal his “battered” ring finger, which he had dislocated more than 100 times, to show his hand movements were not aimed at Oliver’s eyes.
Anderson concluded by comparing the incident to Adelaide veteran Rory Sloane’s successful demotion of a similar incident earlier in the year.
He said unlike Sloane, Berry’s arm movement was restricted and his ability to see his opponent’s face was severely impaired.
– with AAP
https://7news.com.au/sport/afl/afl-legend-luke-hodge-and-a-neurosurgeon-combine-to-clear-lions-star-jarrod-berry-at-the-tribunal-c-8228073 AFL legend Luke Hodge and a neurosurgeon team up to acquit Lions star Jarrod Berry before the tribunal