Tigers frustrated after Soldo appeal fails
RICHMOND'S ruck stocks have been further depleted after the AFL tribunal dismissed Ivan Soldo's claim he was acting in self-defence and upheld his one-match ban.
Soldo, 23, was charged with intentionally striking Hawk James Worpel high and with low impact and declared it was his opponent that had initiated the contact.
It leaves the Tigers with a rucking quandary ahead of Saturday night's Dreamtime at the G clash with Essendon.
Soldo - who has played just nine AFL games - attempted to argue that he had not intentionally struck Worpel and that it was simply an "instinctive reaction to contact initiated from another player that he was not expecting".
"I was not intending to make contact," Soldo said.
"I continued running thinking I was thinking about my next position. I was trying to avoid contact. He just stepped in front and tried to bump me."
Soldo said he had "not enough time to realise it was happening" and said that he had been "stunned" by the contact, which had been amplified by Worpel's momentum and upward movement.
"I did apologise straight away and was checking up on him," he said.
"My mission was still to get out to the position I needed to be in."
An upset Soldo refused to speak to media following the hearing, with a frustrated Neil Balme - Richmond's football boss - also bypassing the opportunity to discuss the incident.
When cross-examined by the AFL, the Richmond ruck said it was a split-second motion to protect.
"The first instinct was to protect my face, really," he said.
"It was my instinct at the time, as I was running as well, my arm was in front of me, I hadn't even seen him. I had no time to really see him so my arm raised as a shield."
Richmond argued that the immediate apology Soldo gave to Worpel should be taken into account, but the tribunal upheld match review officer Michael Christian's one-match ban after a 15-minute deliberation.
It leaves Tigers coach Damien Hardwick hunting a rucking candidate for Saturday night's blockbuster.
Toby Nankervis remains out of the team with an adductor injury.
Noah Balta looms as the most likely prospect, but Hardwick could look to the VFL, with Mabior Chol - who booted two goals and had 10 hitouts - and Callum Coleman-Jones, both having contributed strongly against Box Hill on Sunday.