Carlton Blues: AFL star Zac Williams suspended, West Coast Eagles forward Liam Ryan, Ben Keays, Jason Johannisen

Two clubs will be without key players this weekend after the AFL’s Match Review Officer handed down rough conduct charges.

Carlton’s Zac Williams and West Coast’s Liam Ryan have been suspended for one match each after being charged with rough conduct by the AFL’s match review officer.

Williams, whom Carlton recruited on big money from the Giants this season, was cited for slamming Adelaide’s Ben Keays into the artificial turf on the boundary line at Marvel Stadium.

Match Review Officer Michael Christian ruled the incident as “intentional conduct” which was “low impact, high contact”.

Williams can accept a one-match ban with an early plea.

Carlton recruited Williams on a contract rumoured to be worth around $800,000 per season in the hopes he would ignite the Blues’ midfield in 2021 and beyond.

Instead, Williams has mainly featured in the half-back line, with coach David Teague conceding the 26-year-old could improve his fitness.

However, Williams had arguably his best game in navy blue to date in Carlton’s win over Adelaide, booting one goal to go with his 26 disposals and two clearances.

Williams’ hit on Keays overshadowed his efforts on the ball though, and attracted the ire of the panel on Monday night’s episode of AFL 360.

“That is not on,” said co-host Gerard Whateley.

“Really disappointing for Zac Williams,” added The Herald Sun’s Mark Robinson.

“Under pressure all week and we know that, played really well on the weekend and now he sits (out) for a week.”

Williams will miss Carlton’s clash with Fremantle this Saturday.

Meanwhile, Ryan — one of the Eagles’ best in 2021 — was charged with rough conduct for a bump on Bulldogs star Jason Johannisen in the second quarter of West Coast’s round 15 loss.

The umpire did not blow a free kick on field, but match review officer Michael Christian has since classified Ryan’s hit as “careless conduct, medium impact, high contact”.

Like Williams, Ryan can accept a one-match ban with an early plea.

“I think Liam in the past has been a very good exponent of the hip and shoulder (bump) and if you don’t get it right, then you’re going to get a week,” Ryan’s coach Adam Simpson told AFL 360.

“We’ve spoken about it, we need to address it. This just can’t be the game anymore, it’s too risky.”

Ryan will sit out of what looms as a crucial clash for the Eagles against the Swans this weekend.

Amid Sydney’s Covid-19 outbreak, West Coast’s match against the Swans has been moved to GMHBA Stadium in Geelong.

Since 2000, the Eagles won only one of 13 matches at Kardinia Park, and last tasted victory there in 2006 — the year they notched their third AFL premiership.

West Coast has lost its last seven games in Geelong by an average of 65 points.

With the AFL’s top five sides looking primed to break further ahead of the back, the seventh-placed Eagles will need to shake off the hoodoo if they want to keep up with the premiership heavyweights.

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