Dustin Martin was issued with a please explain for his on-field sledging.
Dustin Martin was issued with a please explain for his on-field sledging.

Dusty to learn fate over moment of madness

The AFL has been urged to hand Dustin Martin at least a suspended fine setting a precedent against on-field sledging after a trio of incidents against Greater Western Sydney.

Martin risks only a fine from the league after being issued a please explain over three offences from Saturday's loss separate to the strike that handed him a two-week ban.

By Tuesday afternoon he must respond to the AFL about his snorting gesture to Shane Mumford, his one-fingered salute and his sledges about snorting another line.

At worst he faces a fine of around $5000 in total, less than half a percent of his $1.2 million salary per season.

The potential penalty will be decided by the AFL's football operations team, with a fine at least likely for his one-fingered salute.

Four years ago he was forced to pay a previous suspended $2000 fine for a handcuff gesture after a two-fingered salute to Collingwood supporters.

But a prompt apology to Mumford and some quick contrition could save him a bigger fine after that tactic worked for Sam Mitchell.

Martin's teammate Jack Riewoldt said there had been a precedent set by Hawthorn's Sam Mitchell being cleared despite his taunting of Essendon players during the ASADA furore.

"A similar circumstance, as similar as you could find, would be Sam Mitchell sledged a couple of Essendon boys about the drug scandal maybe three or four years ago and he got off so I'm not sure, it's still under review from the AFL."

Former Essendon player Brendon Goddard, in the Bombers side that day, told Fox Footy a suspended fine would at least draw a line in the sand.

"Bigger picture it's not that big a deal in the whole scheme of things. But the AFL should make a stand on it and future-proof it. Let's not let these things get out of hand in the future. I think they should do something about that, a suspended fine would do.

"Get rid of it now and make it very clear this is not acceptable and we won't accept it moving forward."

Goddard said Mitchell's sledge was one of the few on-field references to Essendon's issues that year.

"That was a bit more personal. It was almost laughable. We brushed it off. It is the cheap blow, the obvious thing to do. That was one of the only incidents, it was more so from opposition supporters and the general public."