ALBURY star Josh Mellington could miss the first month of next season after being reported in the Tigers’ grand final win over Lavington.
Mellington will front the tribunal on September 28 after being booked for charging Panther Will Lenehan in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s decider at Lavington.
Lavington’s Truman Carroll accepted a two-match set penalty for striking Tiger Michael Duncan in the third quarter of the grand final.
But former Benalla full-forward Mellington wasn’t offered a set penalty as he has a four-week suspended sentence hanging over his head for striking from round two of the 2015 Goulburn Valley season.
That suspended sentence almost cost him a premiership with the Saints.
High-profile AFL advocate Iain Findlay was called in to help over-turn a two-match ban, which grew to six with the suspended sentence, after he was booked for charging on the eve of last season’s finals series.
Meanwhile the clearance window for clubs to sign players will open in November.
In a major shift, clubs can now register players from November 1 to 30 in addition to the traditional window of February 1 to June 30.
AFL North East Border general manager John O’Donohue said the changes to the National Player Transfer Regulations were “huge”.
“It’s happened less so in recent years, but in years gone by you’d hear of clubs signing players and they’d do all their recruiting around it and two months later they’re gone without the club ever getting them on their books,” he said.
“Now you can sign a player and get him cleared pre-Christmas.
“When you recruit players, you can get them on your books and there’s less risk of them walking away from the club.
“I think it will also help clubs with their salary cap because they will know what players they can bank on.”
O’Donohue is confident the incoming salary cap can be enforceable for next season after a positive meeting between AFL Victoria officials earlier this month.
A draft policy was released in July with 12-month suspensions for players, heavy fines and stripping clubs of up to 20 premiership points among the penalties for those who breach the salary cap.
A revised policy is being worked on by lawyers in Melbourne but O’Donohue said: “I’m comfortable we will be able to adopt it and roll it out for next year”.