Swans to appeal length of Parker’s six-game AFL/VFL ban

Sydney have changed their minds and will appeal against the severity of Luke Parker’s six-game VFL ban.

The Swans decided on Wednesday afternoon to contest the verdict, handed down the previous night after a marathon VFL Tribunal hearing.

If the appeal is unsuccessful, Parker will not return to the AFL until well into July, at the earliest.

In a story posted on the club website soon after the hearing, Sydney said they had accepted the tribunal decision.

But late on Wednesday afternoon they had decided to challenge the length of the ban.

Parker was referred directly to the tribunal for his heavy bump in a VFL game last Friday night that hospitalized Frankston opponent Josh Smith.

The Swans star, who said in his evidence he had apologized to Smith, has not played any senior football this season.

The VFL could have suspended him for four games, but opted to refer the case to a tribunal hearing.

It is unclear when the appeal will be heard, given the Swans had pleaded guilty and were only arguing in Tuesday’s hearing against the severity of the suspension.

They were aiming for a four-week ban.

In handing down the penalty, court chairman Tim Bourke said Parker had failed in his duty of care to Smith.

Parker ran past the ball before slowing down and colliding with Smith.

The incident was graded as careless conduct, severe impact and high contact.

Parker has played 283 AFL games for the Swans and teammate Dane Rampe was confident earlier on Wednesday that he would play a part in their season.

Sydney are top and play the Western Bulldogs on Thursday night at Marvel Stadium.

“(My) Immediate reaction is I’m feeling for a mate who’s missing some more footy, respectful obviously of the Frankston player who’s injured,” Rampe said after arriving in Melbourne.

“But on a personal level I’m just feeling for a mate who’s had a tough start to the year, and that’s where it sits.

“I’m still very confident Luke Parker has a role to play in our season. He knows that, I think we all know that. It’s obviously going to be a bit later than what we’d expected, but the story hasn’t ended, if that’s what you’re asking.”

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