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Michael Walters facing one-match ban over stomach punch on Crow Jake Kelly


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MICHAEL Christian has continued his hard-line stance on punching after handing Michael Walters a one-match ban for a stomach punch.

Christian has consistently told players they will be fined or suspended if they punch rivals after an AFL crackdown last year.

Even if the incident is below the force for an official report Christian has this year fined them for misconduct.

Walters will miss Fremantle’s clash with Carlton on Saturday in a win for the 1-10 Blues.

Christian decided Walters’ intentional strike on Kelly was medium impact given its force, helped by the results of an Adelaide medical report.

But his match-day report for a headbutt on Kelly in 10 seconds of madness was thrown out for insufficient force.

Carlton will take on a Fremantle side without its silky half forward and defender Alex Pearce (thumb), but with captain Nathan Fyfe returning from suspension.

Brisbane Lions defender Luke Hodge was cleared for the bump that concussed Essendon captain Dyson Heppell in the Dons’ win over the Lions.

Christian ruled he didn’t have any other alternative given he was contesting the ball which spilled free a split second before he hit Heppell.

Lions defender Harris Andrews was handed a $2000 fine for striking Essendon’s Mark Baguley in the third quarter of the contest.

Gold Coast’s David Swallow and St Kilda’s Jack Steele were both fined for careless umpire, Swallow’s fine $2500 for a second offence this season.

Christian said in the pre-season the message from the AFL was clear: don’t punch people on the football field.

“The first thing to say is the AFL want punching out of the game,” he said.

“We have grappled with the line as to what is enough force for low impact. Where does that line sit?

“We will be telling players if you punch and it doesn’t quite get to low impact potentially you will be fined under misconduct provisions.

“For a whole range of reasons we want to get rid of punching from the game. The message when we go and see the clubs is don’t do it.
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