Ebony Marinoff, the player whose tackle left Bríd Stack with a fractured neck in an AFLW game on Sunday has been banned for three matches.
It is the longest suspension in the sport’s history.
Adelaide midfielder Marinoff will now miss a third of the season following her collision with Greater Western Sydney’s Irish recruit.
Stack sustained the injury in the final minute of Sunday’s practice match when Marinoff ploughed into her following a groundball contest. The Cork ladies football legend collapsed to the ground at Norwood Oval and when the seriousness of the situation became apparent, the match was abandoned by officials.
Ebony Marinoff has been found guilty of engaging in forceful front-on contact at the AFL Tribunal tonight and has been suspended for three matches. Below is the incident in question, more to come #weflyasone #crowsaflw pic.twitter.com/3FDLg1kXmQ— Adelaide Crows AFLW (@CrowsAFLW) January 19, 2021
After being treated at the ground, she was rushed to hospital where scans later revealed the All-Ireland winner had sustained a ‘stable fracture of the C7 vertebra’ but crucially there was no injury to the surrounding nerves.
She has been fitted with a neck brace and has now left Royal Adelaide hospital.
AFL officials moved swiftly on the matter with a tribunal held (online) within 48 hours of the incident.
The hearing lasted two hours.
Marinoff pleaded innocence claiming that she had only a split-second’s notice that Stack was approaching in her direction with her head over the ball. She added that she stopped and braced herself as much as she could before the impact.
“(Marinoff) did slow down and stop and that was all she could reasonably do in the circumstances,” Adelaide’s counsel, Mr Armstrong, told the Tribunal according to a report in the Adelaide Advertiser.
“She did everything she could to stop and there were no other alternatives to her.”
Marinoff told the paper: "really disappointed with this outcome. It was never my intention to hurt Bríd. Every time I go onto the field I want to play hard but fair football, I believe that's what I did on Sunday.
“I reached out to Bríd to send her my best and I wish her a fast recovery.”
Crows Head of Women’s Football Phil Harper said the club will consider an appeal.
“The club is really disappointed with this outcome and we’ll be considering our options going forward,” Harper said.
The Tribunal reviewed footage of the incident and found that the 23-year-old 2019 All-Australian was guilty of the charge of forceful front-on contact and banned her for three matches.
Incredibly, the Giants said Stack, who relocated to Australia with her husband, Carthach Keane, and 14-month-old son, could yet feature this season.