St Kilda’s defender Ben Long to miss semi-final against Richmond

Australia

St Kilda defender Ben Long will miss Friday night’s semi-final against Richmond after his one-match suspension was upheld by the AFL tribunal.

Long was slapped with a ban for rough conduct after crunching Western Bulldogs midfielder Jack Macrae during St Kilda’s thrilling three-point elimination final win at the Gabba on Saturday.

He appeared before the tribunal on Monday night via video link in an attempt to clear his name.

Although Macrae was able to get up almost immediately and play out the match, the AFL assessed the hit as careless conduct, medium impact and high contact.

In a tweet from the club’s official Twitter account, St Kilda’s chief operating officer Simon Lethlean was quoted saying: “We are disappointed for Ben and will strongly assess our options for appeal.”

It is the 23-year-old’s second suspension this year after he received a three-match ban for a careless bump which left Fremantle ruckman Sean Darcy concussed in round six.

Long booted 14.9 last season but he has been used predominantly in defence this year, with his toughness proving crucial.

He has played 45 games since being drafted with pick No.25 in the 2016 national draft.

The Saints were desperate to avoid losing Long, with star ruckman Paddy Ryder and key defender Jake Carlisle already ruled out of Friday night’s sudden-death match against the Tigers.

Ryder has headed back to Melbourne for hamstring surgery after going down in the dying moments against the Bulldogs, while Carlisle has left the Saints’ Queensland hub to be with his partner ahead of the birth of their third child.

AAP/ABC

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