THE Hampden league independent tribunal last night sensationally suspended Camperdown full-forward Luke Molan for four matches.
The three-member tribunal found Molan guilty of intentionally kicking South Warrnambool defender Sam McCosh during their clash last Saturday at Camperdown’s Leura Oval.
Tribunal members Terry O’Keefe, Ian Yewers and Paul Jones upheld the allegation that Molan, 28, had kicked McCosh with his left foot while the Rooster was on his hands and knees during the second quarter of the match.
The suspension sparked a tense scene between Camperdown advocate Pat Meade, McCosh and South advocate Eugene Dalton as the parties left the Friendly Societies’ Oval clubrooms.
Molan will miss next weekend’s top-of-the-table showdown against Warrnambool, as well as matches against Cobden, Koroit and North Warrnambool Eagles.
Reporting umpire Chris Egan told the hearing McCosh had punched the ball off the ground at centre half-back and was getting off the ground when Molan kicked him in the right buttock.
Egan said the incident prompted McCosh to remonstrate with the Magpie, before he intervened and awarded a free kick and 50-metre penalty.
“It wasn’t a kick the crap out of you kick. It was a get out of the way kick,” Egan said.
“It wouldn’t have hurt Sam long-term. It was a three or four out of 10 kick.
“It was more out of frustration than anger. There was no malice in the kick.”
The conflicting evidence started when McCosh gave his version of events.
McCosh said he had collected a scrappy kick and handballed to teammate Ben Dalton.
He said he saw Molan coming and attempted to shepherd him with a hip-and-shoulder bump. The bump forced him to fall to the ground, and he felt contact to the “right side of the face” as he was getting up.
McCosh was uneasy under questioning from Meade, but was clearer with his answers when O’Keefe repeated the questions.
He said he reacted to the contact because he felt contact after play had left the area.
Molan disputed both versions of evidence. He said McCosh fell across his leg after the bump and contact was with McCosh’s ribs, rather than his face or buttock.
“He came across my body. We made shoulder contact and his momentum has carried him across my body,” he said.
Molan said the report surprised him, but he did not question Egan at the time: “I guess I was in shock”.
The most disputed piece of evidence was whether the kick came after McCosh had fallen to the ground, as Egan and McCosh claimed.