ED and Charlie are free to play in Carlton’s round nine clash against Melbourne at the Melbourne Cricket Ground after successfully challenging charges of intentional umpire contact at the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday night.
The Curnow brothers pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of careless contact with an umpire and were both fined $1,000 by the tribunal.
Ed Curnow was charged after pushing umpire Nathan Williamson slightly in the chest during the third-quarter of the Blues’ 13-point win over Essendon at the MCG last Saturday, while brother Charlie made slight contact with umpire Matt Stevic’s chest later in the same term.
The eldest of the Curnow brothers was brought to the witness stand and said: “I had no intention to touch the umpire.”
While Curnow accepted that he touched the umpire, he didn’t agree with the assertion that he knew he had touched the umpire given that his direct opponent in Bombers young gun Zach Merrett was standing directly by Williamson.
AFL legal counsel Andrew Woods showed a replay of the incident to suggest that Ed was looking at Williamson when he made contact, but Ed said he had no recollection of touching Williamson and only found out that he had done so when notified by a club official.
Meanwhile, Charlie Curnow told the tribunal that he had not intended to touch Stevic, but had been focused on trying to break up a scuffle between team mate Jed Lamb and Bomber Mark Baguley.
Curnow said he had not realised he had touched Stevic on the arm until the next day when he saw a photo of the incident in a newspaper.
Stevic didn’t appear at the tribunal after Curnow’s advocate, Marcus Clarke QC, and Woods both accepted the umpire’s stance that he didn’t recall the contact occurring, hadn’t said anything to anyone at the time, hadn’t felt under threat and had no issue with what transpired.
Ed Curnow said after the hearing that he and his brother both respected umpires.
“Tonight, we both understand the tribunal’s decision and we respect it and the process involved. I’d just like to say we both highly respect the umpires and their positon in the game as officiators and their importance to the game at all levels,” said Curnow.
The decisions cap off a remarkable couple of rounds in which four players have been charged with making intentional contact with an umpire. Geelong spearhead Tom Hawkins missed last Sunday’s win over Geelong at the MCG after copping a one-week suspension for making contact with umpire Dean Margetts during the second quarter of the Cats’ 61-point win over Greater Western Sydney in round seven, but Gold Coast co-captain Steven May is free to play in Saturday’s clash against Port Adelaide at Jiangwan Stadium in China after successfully contesting his charge at the tribunal on Monday night, the Suns key defender escaping with a $1,000 fine.