Gold Coast Suns to challenge VFL captain James Tsitas’ ban at the tribunal ahead of grand final


The Gold Coast Suns are heading to the VFL tribunal after captain James Tsitas was banned from this weekend’s grand final against Werribee.

The Suns’ reserves defeated Box Hill last weekend to reach the first premiership decider in their history.

But Tsitas was left with a nervous wait on his hopes of playing this Sunday following an incident late in the first quarter.

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The 28-year-old collected Box Hill’s Jacob Koschitzke high in a marking contest.

Koschitzke’s brief collapse to the turf sparked concerns that the 23-year-old had been concussed, but he was back on his feet and kicked a goal – albeit without receiving a 50m penalty for his troubles.

“If they do get through, the Suns, certainly Tsitas won’t be playing in the grand final,” Brisbane Lions triple premiership player Chris Johnson declared on Channel 7.

Hawthorn premiership winner Campbell Brown said it helped Tsitsas that Koschitzke was able to play on, but he could see both sides of the coin after replays.

“(Tsitas) didn’t follow through with a swinging arm but it was up there to spoil. You just hope, as a player, and I’ve been there, that Koschitzke gets up and plays the game out,” Brown said.

The two key angles of the incident. Credit: Channel 7

Brown called it “touch and go”.

“It was a genuine spoiling attempt. In fact, I would argue he got a piece of the ball (and) the forearm hits Koschitzke in the head,” he said.

VFL commentator Jason Bennett also spotted the key detail.

“It’s important to note it was a clenched fist but the contact was made with the forearm, not the fist,” he said.

“A moment James Tsitas, I’m sure, would wish he could take back.”

Tsitas argued his case against the free kick straight away. Credit: Channel 7

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

Gold Coast instantly launched a challenge with just five days until the grand final.

“We believe we have a strong case and look forward to it being heard at the VFL Tribunal,” Suns football boss Wayne Campbell said.

The hearing will take place at 5.30pm on Tuesday.

Tsitas took part in a promotional photo shoot for the grand final, despite facing a ban. Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images

In an unusual twist, and perhaps a sign of Gold Coast’s confidence in their case, Tsitas took part in a promotional photo shoot on Monday ahead of the grand final.

He posed with the VFL premiership cup alongside Werribee captain Nick Coughlan and their respective coaches Josh Drummond and Michael Barlow.

Tsitas is gunning for his third senior flag after winning two SANFL premierships, and a Magarey Medal as the league’s best and fairest, prior to joining Gold Coast ahead of the 2022 season.

Watch the VFL grand final live on Seven and 7plus from 3pm AEST on Sunday, September 24

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