Former AFL match review panel member Brad Sewell predicts Trent Cotchin will be cleared to play in the grand final.
Much of the focus at the start of grand final week surrounds what will happen on Monday, when the MRP hands down its findings from the preliminary finals.
The Richmond captain is in strife for a heavy collision with GWS opponent Dylan Shiel in the first quarter of Saturday’s MCG clash.
Adelaide vice-captain Rory Sloane will also be under scrutiny for the heavy hit that floored Geelong star Patrick Dangerfield, a key moment on Friday night at Adelaide Oval.
Richmond utility Brandon Ellis is a third player sweating on the MRP deliberations, after his high bump on Lachie Whitfield.
But Cotchin and Sloane are the big incidents.
Sewell, the retired Hawthorn premiership player, served on the panel two seasons ago.
“Whether we like or not, there is an unspoken bias for finals – you want to see the very best players out there, playing every week,” Sewell told Channel Seven’s Game Day.
“But when it’s finals and grand finals … he (Cotchin) has to be fine.”
The other big factor is it cannot be a fine – in other words, Cotchin either is cleared or he faces suspension.
He was fined twice earlier this season for jumper punches and under the tribunal system, a third fine would mean an automatic one-game ban.
GWS player Toby Greene had priors when the MRP ruled against him last month for an incident where his raised foot left Western Bulldogs opponent Luke Dahlhaus with a bloodied mouth.
But that was ruled as misconduct – a separate category to his previous offences.
In Cotchin’s case, the charge would be rough conduct and that would be in the same bracket as his two striking offences.
Matthew expects the MRP will clear Cotchin and Sloane, but said the Adelaide star might have more reason to worry because he appears to lift an arm before the collision with Dangerfield to protect himself.
“I’m for making the game safer. You can’t bump high and that wasn’t a bump, that was more a collision for me,” Matthews told Channel Seven.
“But you have to be able to attack the footy with as much force and ferocity that you can summon.
“I just reckon it would be really bad for the game if there was a problem with that incident, because that was what he was doing.
“I think nothing should happen (with Sloane), but this is a little more debatable.”
Cotchin starred in their six-goal win over GWS, continuing his great finals series.
Sloane returned from having his appendix removed on Friday night, as Adelaide mauled Geelong by 61 points.
The game attracted a record Adelaide Oval crowd and at the final siren, the top of the western grandstand shook with the noise.
It is Richmond’s first grand final in 35 years, while the Crows have waited 19 years since their 1997-98 premiership double.
The Tigers will start underdogs as they try to break their 37-year premiership drought.