BALLAN gun Ryan Closter is free to play in his team’s clash with Rokewood-Corindhap this weekend after beating a striking charge at the AFL Goldfields Region Independent Tribunal.
Closter was cited for hitting Learmonth joint coach Brenton Powell during the third quarter of the Lakies’ 17-point win on Saturday, but got off after pleading not guilty at the hearing on Tuesday night.
Both players involved attended the tribunal, which found there was no evidence the strike had occurred.
Closter has been an important player for the Blues since joining the club last season and filled an important role down back at the weekend.
The result is a boost for Ballan, which has been ultra-competitive with likely finalists Daylesford, Waubra and Learmonth in the opening three rounds but is yet to secure a win.
Ballan will start warm favourites against the Grasshoppers, which are also winless.
Also at the tribunal, Maryborough Rovers player Grant Ryan beat two separate charges from his team’s Anzac Day clash with Trentham.
Ryan was referred to the tribunal by the match review panel for striking and engaging in rough conduct, where he pleaded not guilty and was cleared to play in this weekend’s encounter with Natte-Bealiba.
Meanwhile, an investigator has returned findings from a probe into the round one Central Highlands Football League reserves clash between Ballan and Daylesford.
The Blues’ Chris Wilkinson, who has been re-registered after an earlier lifetime ban, is alleged to have struck Bulldog Edward Cooper.
The league is yet to make the investigator’s report public, but will announce whether there will be a tribunal hearing in the coming days.
A separate investigation into the Waubra versus Hepburn senior encounter from the same weekend continues.
The Burras are alleging Roos playing coach Jason Allen spat in the face of Leigh Santurini.