Hawthorn premiership forward Jack Gunston has defended teammate James Sicily after the fiery Hawk was offered a one-match AFL ban for kneeing.
Match review officer Michael Christian offered Sicily the suspension on Tuesday for kneeing Geelong skipper Joel Selwood during the Hawks’ thrilling one-point win on Easter Monday.
The club accepted the ban on Wednesday morning.
“We love James playing on the edge ... but situations like this are never nice and James has put his hand up and owned up to what he’s done,” Gunston, a member of the club’s leadership group, said of the 23-year-old on FoxFooty.
“We love him on the field because he has the white line fever and he does play to the edge but off the field he’s a larrikin and loves a joke.
“He’s one of those guys you love to have on your team.
“He’s growing and maturing but he’s still a young guy and I think we all forget that.
“I think there’s a lot of development in him.”
The incident occurred in the final term at the MCG and was assessed as intentional conduct with low impact to the head.
Footage of the incident shows Sicily tackling Selwood to the ground then dropping his left knee into the Cats star’s head.
Selwood later admitted he wasn’t happy with the treatment at the time.
He exchanged words with Sicily after the final siren but the pair then shook hands.
The fourth-placed Hawks face reigning premiers Richmond at the MCG on Sunday, with the Tigers coming off a loss to Adelaide.
They will be without 35-year-old veteran Shaun Burgoyne, who will break a run of 107 straight matches after suffering a hamstring strain that will sideline him for about three weeks.
Premiership defender James Frawley was a late withdrawal against the Cats with a foot injury but is expected to return this weekend.