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Blues brothers to face AFL appeal board

AAP logoAAP 16/05/2018 Jason Phelan

Charlie Curnow of the Carlton Blues arrives ahead of his AFL Tribunal Hearing into intentional contact with an umpire at AFL House in Melbourne, Australia. © Michael Dodge/Getty Images Charlie Curnow of the Carlton Blues arrives ahead of his AFL Tribunal Hearing into intentional contact with an umpire at AFL House in Melbourne, Australia. The AFL will attempt to get its messaging about making contact with umpires back on track when Carlton's Curnow brothers front the appeal board.

Charlie and Ed Curnow successfully argued charges of intentional contact with an umpire down to careless contact at Tuesday night's tribunal hearing.

The bar for intentionally touching a whistleblower seemed to have been set at a one-game ban when Geelong's Tom Hawkins accepted his punishment just over a week ago.

Confidence that the message was being upheld by the tribunal wavered when Gold Coast's Steven May was fined rather than suspended on Monday night.

And when both Charlie and Ed were each fined $1000 by the tribunal, the league deemed it had to act.

The AFL appealed the verdicts on two key grounds.

The first is that no tribunal acting reasonably could have come to those decisions having regard to the evidence before it.

Secondly, that the sanctions imposed were manifestly inadequate.

The appeals will be heard at 3pm AEST on Thursday.

The May decision was not appealed after careful examination.

It is just the second occasion in history that the AFL has appealed a tribunal verdict.

The first came last year when then football boss Simon Lethlean appealed a two-game ban handed to Richmond's Bachar Houli for striking Carlton's Jed Lamb.

That penalty was increased to four matches on appeal.

Hawkins took a one-game ban in a plea bargain-style deal after he was threatened with a two-match suspension for touching an umpire during the Cats' round-seven win over GWS.

Having cooperated with the tribunal with regard to Hawkins' ban, Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said the subsequent fines handed out would have dismayed the Cats.

"If I was Geelong I'd be bleeding ... absolutely bleeding," Buckley told SEN.

"Hawkins handled himself so well, I thought the club handled it well.

"You'd be scratching your head wondering, 'Why be so gracious when it's not actually supported or followed through?'"

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