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Former AFL CEO says Bedford shouldn’t miss final for bump on Fisher

Former AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou says Toby Bedford isn’t deserving of his one-week suspension and hopes the Giant gets off on appeal.

Bedford was cited for rough conduct for a bump on Carlton’s Zac Fisher during the Giants’ Round 24 win, with the initial grading careless conduct, medium impact and high contact.

As a result, Bedford is set to miss Saturday’s Elimination Final against St Kilda at the MCG.

A Tribunal appeal on Monday night failed to have the suspension rescinded before GWS confirmed on Tuesday it will appeal the ban handed down to the 23-year-old.

However, Demetriou believes it shouldn’t have got this far.

Volunteering his opinion on SEN’s Sportsday, Demetriou said: “In the context of the game and that particular incident, (it) just doesn’t warrant missing a final.

“It’s just incredible that it’s even got to this stage.

“I don’t know what’s going on but I would have thought that particular incident, I mean you can see Bedford apologising to (Fisher) for the accidental bump that it was.

“We’ve seen a lot worse get less than a week or a week, and I think in the context and the significance of the game, playing in a final, I just don’t think it warrants a suspension and I hope he gets off on appeal.”

Bedford attempted to lay a block for teammate Harry Himmelberg when collecting Fisher, with no umpire deeming the conduct worthy of a free kick at the time.

Sydney defender Tom McCartin had his two-game ban for a similar shepherd overturned at the Tribunal in late August, despite Adelaide forward Shane McAdam needing surgery for a fractured cheekbone.

The league’s Appeal Board will hear the case on Thursday at 2:00pm AEST, a point in time that will be 11 days after the original incident.

Bedford has played 16 games for the Giants in his first year since crossing over from Melbourne, missing just one match since Round 7.

He’s averaging 13.1 disposals, 5.3 tackles, 2.3 inside 50s and 0.6 goals per game in 2023.

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