Geelong star Patrick Dangerfield says he was trying to protect himself in the collision with Jake Kelly that left the Adelaide player concussed and with a broken nose.
Dangerfield was charged with rough conduct and referred directly to the tribunal, with his case to be heard on Tuesday evening.
The experienced midfielder bumped former Crows teammate Kelly on Saturday, causing a head clash in an incident assessed by match review officer Michael Christian as careless conduct, severe impact and high contact.
“It’s pretty easy to review something at 30 frames per second,” Dangerfield told reporters outside GMHBA Stadium on Monday.
“I think as much as you have a due diligence to look at the health and safety of others, you’ve got to look after yourself as well.
“It’s still a collision game. I certainly appreciate that stand that looking after concussion and the head is extremely important.
“But you also have a due diligence to protect yourself when you are in an environment and a game where you can collide with others.
“That’s what it is, it’s a split moment to make a decision on protecting yourself with incoming opponents. That happens every week.”
Dangerfield is facing the possibility of missing multiple matches, with Geelong set to take on fellow surprise round-one losers Brisbane on Friday night.
Any suspension would see the 2016 Brownlow Medal winner ruled ineligible for the game’s most prestigious individual award this year.
Adelaide captain Rory Sloane said his close friend and former Crows teammate Dangerfield was “incredibly unlucky” that he clashed heads with Kelly.
“It’s a head clash. That’s completely accidental and it’s just part of footy really,” Sloane told Sportsday.
“You can’t control those and that’s something that I certainly feel for Patty for, that it’s completely incidental.”
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said players were aware of the repurcussions of head knocks, but added he does not believe Dangerfield showed malicious intent towards Kelly.
“I think it’s important to note that those two are really good mates,” Buckley said.
“Things happen on the football field. I am pretty sure Patrick, there wasn’t any malice or malicious intent in the action as such, but there was head contact and the laws are clear around that.”
Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron said his players are regularly instructed not to bump opponents in order to avoid head contact.
“Clearly, when there is an enormous amount of force that then (causes) an injury like we saw on the weekend, it’s always going to get you in a bit of strife,” Cameron told Fox Footy.
“At the Giants, we’re always encouraging tackle.
“But in saying that, habits don’t change overnight and it’s hard to change the bump that you’ve been doing for 10 or 15 years as a junior and now into AFL footy.”