Teenage footy melee leads to 10-year ban - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Teenage footy melee leads to 10-year ban

22/09/2011 06:40:34 PM Comments (0)

A junior Australian rules footballer has been banned from the sport for 10 years for king-hitting a 15-year-old during a melee at a grand final in country Victoria.

The teenager's jaw was broken in three places during the brawl, which erupted five minutes before the end of Saturday's Murray Football League (MFL) under-17s grand final between Congupna and Echuca United.

Congupna's Jack Brophy had tried to drag a team-mate out of the melee and had heeded the umpire's instructions to back away when he was hit, the club's under-17s coach Bruce Fuller said.

"This kid ran from 20 metres and just king-hit him from behind and knocked him to the ground - just a sickening blow," Mr Fuller told Fairfax Radio on Thursday.

"Jack did the right thing, got out of the melee, just standing there, an innocent person just watching what happened and this kid just takes a cheap shot at him."

An MFL tribunal suspended three Echuca United players for a total of 244 games.

The 16-year-old who allegedly king-hit Jack did not attend the tribunal and was therefore banned for 200 games.

Another player was suspended for 32 weeks and a third for 12 weeks on two charges.

The player who copped a 32-week suspension punched another player up to 10 times, Mr Fuller said.

"He probably threw nine or 10 punches at this kid, had him by the back of the neck and just threw an upper cut, and the kid was just protecting himself," he said.

MFL general manager Dale Norman said Echuca United was deeply apologetic.

"I know that those players will not be playing with Echuca United ever again," he said.

But the club is appealing against the severity of the bans and is likely to have the support of the Victorian Country Football League.

VCFL chief executive officer Steven Reaper said the behaviour was unacceptable and has no place in sport but thought the punishment was too harsh.

"While we recognise the seriousness of the incident, we also believe a 200-week or 10 year suspension is excessive for a 15-year-old," he said.

"But this is a now a matter to be determined by the VCFL appeals board."

Congupna was well in front when the melee broke out with about five minutes left after one of its players was awarded a free kick for a high tackle.

Congupna won the grand final 109 points to 21.

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