SOUTH Warrnambool playing coach Matthew Peake will take charge from the sidelines for the next fortnight after being suspended for two matches.
The Roosters coach fronted the Hampden Football Netball League (HFNL) independent tribunal last night after he was reported in Saturday’s match against Camperdown for striking Magpies veteran Aaron Sinnott in the final quarter.
Peake, who was booked by goal umpire Eddie Williamson, pleaded guilty to the charge of intentionally, recklessly or negligently striking another person.
South Warrnambool advocate Fred Hughson asked the tribunal panel of Terry O’Keefe, Robert Anderson and Robert Wade to consider a reprimand due to the coach’s previous exemplary record.
Before last weekend, he had not been reported in his 25-year football career, which included playing representative football for several leagues.
But the panel did not grant a reprimand, instead imposing a two-match suspension.
Williamson said he had a clear view of the incident, which occurred no more than 25 metres away from him after a ball-up at the scoreboard end of Friendly Societies’ Park.
“After the ruck was contested, I saw Matthew turn around and swing a punch,” he said.
The goal umpire said Peake’s right clenched fist made contact with Sinnott’s nose and the Magpie went off with a blood nose after the incident.
Sinnott told the tribunal that he had his eyes on the ball at the contest.
“In the last split-second, I felt a force across my face,” he said. “I’m not certain what part of the body it came with.
“I went to ground, then I got up and remonstrated.”
He said Peake made contact to the left side of his face, while he was not sure if the blood nose was from the contact as he had a blood nose before the match and a couple of times prior to the incident.
Peake said he was trying to keep Sinnott away from the contest.
“I threw my left arm and when I threw it, I was looking towards the ball,” he said.
“I tried to push him away and I wasn’t sure where I hit him.
“It was supposed to be across the top of the chest.
“At the time I didn’t realise I got him high.
“Obviously he did go to ground and fair enough, he got up and remonstrated.”
The coach said he was positive he made contact with his left forearm.
When asked by Wade about the discrepancies between his version of events and Williamson’s, he could not explain them.
“I thought it was with my left arm and it was a forearm, not a punch,” he said.
Camperdown advocate Peter Riley commended Peake for contacting Sinnott on Monday to apologise.
Hughson asked the tribunal to take Peake’s remorse into consideration, as well as the fact that he pleaded guilty.
“He could have pleaded not guilty and tried to claim it was an accident,” he said.
South’s next two matches are against Port Fairy and Koroit.