AN East Warrnambool footballer has copped a two-and-a-half year ban after assaulting an umpire during a "black-out rage" on Saturday.
Joshua Stennett was on Wednesday night suspended until the end of the 2021 season after pleading guilty to intentionally making contact with or striking an umpire at the AFL Western District independent tribunal.
The tally, at a minimum, would be 40 weeks in the Warrnambool and District league, which has an 18-round home-and-away season including two byes. The Bombers have already played half of their 16 games this season.
The sentence exceeds AFL Victoria's 16-week suspension policy, meaning Stennett will be deregistered.
Stennett, 25, was reported after an incident with central umpire Mick Lowther during the Bombers' loss to Kolora-Noorat on Saturday.
Lowther, who has officiated over 500 games, said he felt threatened after Stennett "grabbed me by my shirt, ripped my shirt and put his fists under my chin" during the fourth quarter of Saturday's match.
He was worried Stennett "was going to punch me".
Lowther said he thought a runner dragged Stennett away but admitted "it happened that quick, I was shocked and still am".
"I have been umpiring since I was a 14-year-old kid and have never experienced anything like this," he said.
"I am shocked and am still trying to understand why."
Player advocate Justin Balmer said Stennett had a "short fuse" and was working on his anger issues.
Stennett apologised to Lowther for his actions, saying "it was not a personal attack and I can understand it would shake anyone up".
He conceded he was in a "black-out rage" at the time of the incident and Lowther was the person closest to him.
He said he had "beaten myself up over it all week".
East Warrnambool on Monday also opted to sanction Stennett, handing him a club-imposed ban until the end of 2020.
Bombers president Allan Miller said the club expected its players to uphold certain values. He said Stennett had been involved in an off-field incident last year.
"He had a warning still outstanding from the club and his latest incident breached that," Miller said.
"From our point-of-view, we have lofty standards with our code of conduct for players and officials which are in line with community standards."
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