AFL, Brennan Settle Over Suspension

Dogs skipper free to play R1, 2019

AFL, Brennan Settle Over Suspension Getty Images

Western Bulldogs AFLW skipper Katie Brennan will be able to play in round one next season after settling her grievance with the AFL over her controversial grand final ban.

Brennan missed the Dogs' first women's premiership after a failed tribunal challenge and subsequent appeal, which saw a one-match rough conduct ban increased to two.

The club considered but ultimately decided against launching legal action before the grand final against the Brisbane Lions at Princes Park.

In scenes reminiscent of the aftermath of the Dogs' men's flag win in 2016, Brennan took the dais with her triumphant teammates after they defeated the Lions.

But anger over differences in the penalties handed to male and female players at the elite level still simmered and Brennan took her grievance to the Australian Human Rights Commission.

But that was dropped on Wednesday after the AFL agreed to amend the penalty system for the AFLW.

"We are pleased to have reached this result," AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon said.

"Our decisions are based on what is best for the growth, sustainability and popularity of the national women's league.

"While creating something new and different, there will always be challenges and, in turn, opportunities to improve."

The changes will ensure AFLW players are not more likely to be suspended than men for identical conduct with identical disciplinary records. 

The league also agreed to quash the remaining match of her suspension, freeing her to play in next year's AFLW opening round. 

"I am delighted the AFL has taken the time and responded to review and adjust the rules," Brennan said.

"The decision to push for change in the rules at this vital time of development reflects the passion I have for the game and the future generations of our sport. 

"The competition is still in its early days and that means it requires appropriate care and support for the growth and sustainability."

AAP

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