Steven Baker (Australian footballer)
|Full name||Steven Paul Baker|
|Date of birth||22 May 1980|
|Original team(s)||Geelong Falcons (TAC Cup)|
|Draft||No. 27, 1998 National Draft, St Kilda|
|Height||179 cm (5 ft 10 in)|
|Weight||83 kg (183 lb)|
|1999–2011||St Kilda||203 (35)|
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 2011.
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
In 2005, he tied with teammate Luke Ball in St Kilda's best and fairest award, the Trevor Barker Award. Previous to this his best ranking was third in 2004. On 28 May 2005, Baker and teammate Fraser Gehrig played their 100th and 200th AFL games respectively.
St Kilda qualified for the 2009 grand final after qualifying and preliminary finals wins. Baker played in the 2009 AFL Grand Final in which St Kilda were defeated by 12 points.
The athletic Baker has caused some controversy during his career, playing as a tagger (run with) player rather than a set position player. He used a variety of tactics to prevent his opponent from getting the ball including standing on their feet and repeated hits to their arm.
Baker was selected in St Kilda's two grand final matches against Collingwood in 2010.
As of the end of the 2010 season, Baker had played in 11 AFL finals matches including three grand finals.
Following St Kilda's elimination final defeat on 10 September 2011, St Kilda announced that Baker's playing career with the club was ending. Initially the club said that Baker was retiring but, after this was denied by Baker, the club later issued a reworded statement regarding Baker and several other players.
Baker was regarded as one of the most efficient taggers in the league, but often stretched the rules, leading to a very high number of tribunal appearances and suspensions. He was suspended for a total of 28 matches during his AFL career.
Jeff Farmer incident
On 18 August 2007, Baker was linked to an incident behind play, in the third quarter of a match against Fremantle at Telstra Dome. Fremantle forward Jeff Farmer was assisted from the playing area at Telstra Dome, with blood coming from his nose and suffering concussion. The incident was not witnessed by umpires or captured on film, but on the basis of evidence from a Fremantle trainer, Baker was charged with rough conduct and referred to the AFL Tribunal.
On 21 August 2007 it was announced that Baker had been found guilty and suspended for seven matches, which was at the time the longest suspension for a single incident since the tribunal system was changed to a points-based system. The penalty was made so severe due to a 40% points loading due to Baker's record of four games suspended in the previous three years, and controversial 127.5 carry-over points; Baker had been suspended for two separate incidents in Round 6 against Carlton, but a loophole (closed immediately thereafter) allowed him to serve a shorter suspension and carry-over more than 100 points.
Steve Johnson incident
On 28 June 2010, after St Kilda's Round 13 game against Geelong, Baker was charged four times for separate incidents – three for striking and one for misconduct (specifically, making unreasonable and unnecessary contact with an injured player) – against Geelong's Steve Johnson after the pair clashed several times during the first half when Baker was tagging Johnson; Johnson was himself also charged twice for striking Baker. Baker became the first person to be reported for misconduct towards an injured player. After accepting early pleas for the three striking offences, and having the misconduct charge upheld by the tribunal, Baker was suspended for a total nine matches. This is the longest suspension given from a single match (but not for a single incident) under the points-based tribunal system.
While playing for the Sorrento Football Club in the Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football League in 2013, Baker was suspended for six weeks for unduly rough conduct against an opponent in a pre-season match. The sanction took Baker's total career suspensions beyond the threshold to be automatically deregistered from playing football for life, ending his playing career at all levels. Baker successfully appealed the six-week suspension, enabling him to continue playing.
- "AFL 2004 Wizard Cup Final – Geelong v St Kilda". Slattery Media Group. 2004-03-13. Retrieved 2009-11-07.
- "St Kilda wins NAB cup". The Age. 8 March 2008. Retrieved 2009-11-07.
- "Saints are NAB Cup Champions in 2008". Jeld-Wen. 8 March 2008. Retrieved 2009-11-07.
- "2009 Season Scores and Results – Ladder". AFL Tables. 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-08.
- Windley, Matt (9 June 2012). "Former St Kilda tagger Steven Baker reveals how to stop Gary Ablett". Herald Sun.
- "Saints farewell Gardiner, Baker, McQualter and Eddy", St Kilda Football Club website, 11 September 2011
- Matthews, Bruce (2007-08-21). "Freo trainer 'star witness'". Fox Sports. Premier Media Group Pty Ltd. Retrieved 2009-09-25.
- Matthews, Bruce (2007-08-21). "Steven Baker suspended for seven weeks". heraldsun.com.au. Herald and Weekly Times. Retrieved 2009-09-25.
- Under the rules that existed at the time the two incidents were treated entirely separately so the carry-over points were not added together even though they exceeded the 100 points required to be suspended for one week. Under the newer rules the points would have been added together that week and Baker would have been suspended for an additional game in the first place, with only 27.5 carry-over points.
- "AFL to review tribunal rules after Baker case". ABC.net.au. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2007-05-09. Retrieved 2009-09-25.
- Match Review Panel report
- Paton St Kilda's Steven Baker rubbed out for nine weeks after misconduct appeal fails at tribunal, retrieved 29 June 2010
- Edmund, Sam (27 March 2013). "Former St Kilda tagger Steven Baker cops life ban from football". Herald Sun. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- MacFarlane, Glenn (10 April 2013). "Former St Kilda hard man Steven Baker has his life-time ban overturned". Herald Sun. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
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