GISBORNE captain Casey Summerfield remains a chance to play in Saturday night’s BFNL first semi-final after the Bulldogs appealed his two-week suspension.
The AFL Victoria Country Appeals Board will determine Summerfield’s playing future at a special hearing at Visy Park in Melbourne on Friday night.
Summerfield was handed a two-week suspension by the BFNL tribunal on Wednesday night after he was found guilty of striking Sandhurst’s Nick Stagg in last Saturday’s elimination final.
The Bulldogs are appealing the original striking report and the two-week suspension.
The appeal costs the club $5500, but it could receive up to $3000 of that money back if the appeal is successful.
“Casey is very important to us because he’s our captain, but the bottom line is we believe he’s innocent and we’ll do everything in our power to protect his name,’’ Gisborne skipper Graeme Love said on Thursday.
“Everyone at the club is behind us in clearing Casey... no matter what the cost.”
The Bulldogs play Eaglehawk in a cut-throat semi-final on Saturday night.
Gisborne made one shock decision at selection, with Matt Knox included in the side, despite coach Kevin Fitzgerald stating last week that the full-forward would miss the rest of the season because of a hip injury.
Summerfield was named as an omission from the senior side ahead of Friday night’s appeal.
After last weekend’s heart-breaking four-point loss to Golden Square, Eaglehawk received a timely boost at the selection table with the Hawks regaining star defender Tim Hill and midfielder Tyson Findlay from injury.
Midfielder Ryan Threlfall is unavailable and Cam McGlashan was dropped.
Flag favourite Strathfieldsaye will be at full strength for Sunday’s second semi-final against Golden Square.
The Storm, who are chasing their first BFNL grand final berth, included star quartet Sam Mildren, Vinnie Flood, Shannon Geary and Tom Dowd in an extended squad of 25.
Flood still had his broken arm in a brace last weekend and the Storm may yet decide not to risk the speedy midfielder.
Mildren has been plagued by a back injury in the second half of the season, but is a certain starter on Sunday.
Golden Square recalled centre half-back Travis Baird after he was dropped for last weekend’s qualifying final against Eaglehawk for discipline reasons.
Baird apologised to team-mates this week for his actions.
Veteran forward Chris Carter was also included in an extended squad of 24.