EAST Warrnambool recruit Tour Miar will miss a month of football after being found guilty of striking by the Warrnambool and District Football Netball League (WDFNL) independent tribunal last night.
The 19-year-old pleaded not guilty to the charge of intentionally, recklessly or negligently striking another person during the round one clash against Deakin University but was slapped with the four-match ban.
Miar, who played at national under 18 level for Tasmania before joining his brother Andrea at the Bombers this season, told The Standard he was sorry to let down his new club.
“I feel like I’ve disappointed a lot of people at East,” he said.
“The club has done a lot for me and my brother (Andrea). To be out for a month will be hard.”
The tribunal, which was presided by Terry O’Keefe and panel members Brian Mathers and Robert Anderson, heard Miar reacted to a late bump after clearing the ball from East’s defensive 50 of Reid Oval in the game on April 1.
Reporting umpire Casey O’Keefe said when the ball left his officiating area he “glanced over to the left and noticed a bit of push and shove”.
O’Keefe recalled Deakin half-forward Brent Astle pushing Miar to the chest before Miar retaliated with a “forceful right-hand smack to the jaw area”, which sent Astle to the ground.
Miar was given a yellow card and notified of the report, while Astle was assisted to the bench, unable to take his free kick.
Astle told the tribunal he did not see the blow coming.
The first-year Shark said he went to tackle Miar as he kicked the ball but pulled out when he realised it would be too late and could be penalised. Instead, Astle hip-and-shouldered Miar to put him off balance.
The contact was almost “front-on” but Astle described it as a “fair bump”. As play moved into the centre of the ground Astle heard some swearing behind him before he was struck to the left cheek.
“I lost all vision for a couple of seconds (and) I was off the ground for the next two quarters. I didn’t expect to get hit.”
Miar told the tribunal he was reacting to the late bump.
“I was playing in the back line,” he said.
“He (Astle) came in for the shepherd and got me real good. I was winded and I was angry.
“He came at me and I threw my arm at him. It all happened so quickly. I had no intention of hitting him. He is much shorter than me and I was just throwing my arm.”
After a five-minute deliberation the tribunal found Miar guilty.
Miar’s advocate Terry Baker asked the panel to consider the teenager’s difficult background, which included racial taunts on the field in Tasmania.
“He comes from a background none of us could start to think about,” Baker said. “But he’s a talented young footballer and we accept that there are things that he needs to work on.”
But O’Keefe told Miar his substantial prior record of reports left the tribunal with no option but to hand down the four-match ban.
“(The penalty) is primarily based on your record, which isn’t good,” O’Keefe said.
“We don’t expect to see you here again and we wish you well for the rest of the season.”