Trent Cotchin & Rory Sloane Have Both Been Cleared To Play In The AFL GF

Superstar midfielders Trent Cotchin and Rory Sloane have both been cleared of wrongdoing by the AFL’s Match Review Panel, paving the way for the pair to take the field in this weekend’s historic Grand Final.

Cotchin, who was the bigger worry of the two, was under scrutiny for a hit on GWS player Dylan Shiel during Saturday’s tightly contested Preliminary Final at the MCG.

The hit left Shiel with a delayed concussion, forcing him from the field from the remainder of the game. Cotchin had previously received two fines from the MRP during the home and away season, meaning that a third indiscretion – no matter how minor – would result in an automatic suspension, rubbing one of the Tigers’ most important players out for their first Grand Final in 35 years.

However, the MRP found that the contact was “not unreasonable” given the circumstances, with both players charging hard at the ball. Slow-motion replays show Cotchin showing some measure of protection by tucking both his elbow and shoulder in prior to impact.

Sloane was assessed and cleared over a hit on Geelong’s Patrick Dangerfield during the Crows’ resounding Preliminary Final win on Friday night. In that case, the MRP ruled that Sloane braced for contact and did not use a bumping motion.

The hit left Dangerfield dazed and on the ground for several moments after the impact.

In an additional ruling, the MRP also cleared Tiger tough-nut Brandon Ellis over an incident involving Giant Lachie Whitfield.

The MRP’s decisions today mean that both Adelaide and Richmond enter this weekend’s blockbuster Grand Final free of suspension-related selection dilemmas.

The last time an AFL player missed a Grand Final through suspension was Anthony Rocca, who missed Collingwood’s unsuccessful 2003 Grand Final after copping a striking charge in their Prelim against Port Adelaide.