A pair of south-west junior footballers have been handed heavy suspensions for a dangerous tackle and umpire abuse.
A South Rovers' under 18 player was given a three-game suspension for a dangerous tackle after a AFL Western District independent tribunal hearing on Wednesday night.
A Tyrendarra under 17 player copped a four-game ban for abusing two different umpires.
The South Rovers player was found guilty of unbecoming conduct in that he intentionally or carelessly engaged in rough conduct against an opponent, following an investigation.
The penalty related to a tackle on July 30 in the Warrnambool and District league that knocked a Kolora-Noorat player out, saw him taken to hospital and left him with a chipped tooth and a concussion. A free kick was paid by the umpire but no send-off.
The Kolora-Noorat player subsequently missed six days of school and is set to miss his third game of football on the weekend.
The defence pleaded not guilty to the charge, insisting that in the tackle he "wrapped up" the player from behind and "dropped the knees and fell sideways" to avoid pushing the victim in the back. He also said there was no lift or sling.
His advocate said that it was "horribly unlucky" but he had "no other alternative" to do what he did.
The size difference between the two players (the tackler was bigger) was also argued to have played a role in the outcome.
Various witnesses recounted the incident, including both umpires, with debate surrounding the legality of the tackle, whether there were two motions in it and if the tackler had an alternative.
The victim was said to have his arms pinned or restricted in the tackle.
The prosecution said "excessive force" was used and the victim was put in a "vulnerable position" where the "onus and duty of care is on the tackler".
Following a report, the Tyrendarra player pleaded guilty to two counts of behaving in an abusive, insulting, threatening or obscene manner towards or in relation to an umpire.
The incident occurred on August 7, in the Greater South West under 17 grand final between Tyrendarra and Coleraine. Tyrendarra lost the match by 80 points and had two players sent off.
Following testimony from both umpires the defendant admitted to asking each umpire how much they were paid and using profane language to refer to both officials, after the siren sounded.
He said he was "frustrated and annoyed" with what he described as "favouritism" to the opposing side but admitted he "shouldn't have done it".
The player's advocate spoke to the defendant's character, saying he'd never seen him that upset before and he "cares about his teammates a lot".
"His emotions got the better of him," he said. "He's disappointed in the way he conducted himself."
In addition to the four-week suspension the player was ordered to umpire four under 11 games next season.
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