ALBURY star Dean Polo is free to play in the finals, despite being found guilty of headbutting last night.
After a hearing that lasted more than four hours Polo copped a two-match ban, with one suspended.
Polo, who pleaded not guilty, was reported for misconduct by umpire Darren Askew during Saturday’s 132-point demolition of Wodonga.
Askew struggled to recall what else was happening in the area at the time but was “100 per cent sure” he saw Polo headbutt Dylan Beattie with a short jab of the head during a scuffle involving multiple players in the second quarter.
“I was very surprised it happened,” Askew said by phone.
Polo said there was absolutely no intended headbutt and that he had no idea he’d been sent off until he was on the bench.
Beattie told the tribunal he left the ground with a “cut nose” and “watery eyes” shortly after, but could not recall how it happened.
“There was so much pushing and shoving,” Beattie said.
“I can’t say 100 per cent where it came from, there were almost 10 players in the scuffle.”
Albury advocate Iain Findlay lodged a submission regarding the legality of the report, which was denied.
The Tigers said they weren’t aware Polo had been reported until 30 minutes after the game.
Albury co-coach Chris Hyde gave evidence, telling the tribunal he “had no idea” what was going on at the time and asked the umpire to stop the game.
Albury is all but certain to finish the season on top of the ladder and earn the first week off in finals.
The Tigers take on Wangaratta at Norm Minns Oval on Saturday.