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Bombers' McVeigh suspended for one game

By Adam Cooper 10/07/2007 07:21:56 PM Comments (0)

Essendon midfielder Mark McVeigh will be suspended for one game but on Tuesday night at least earned some leeway should he encounter more trouble with the AFL judiciary.

McVeigh successfully had his striking charge on Geelong's Gary Ablett downgraded from high contact to low, which meant the tribunal jury reduced his demerit points total.

However, it was not enough of a reduction to save him from suspension and he will miss Saturday night's clash against the Western Bulldogs at Telstra Dome.

Fullback Dustin Fletcher will also miss that game after accepting a one-game ban for striking Cat Kane Tenace, but the Bombers will at least regain skipper Matthew Lloyd from suspension.

West Coast midfielder Daniel Kerr will also be suspended for one game, after pleading guilty to striking the Brisbane Lions' Will Hamill.

Kerr will miss Saturday's game against Port Adelaide because of his second suspension this season.

McVeigh pleaded guilty to striking Ablett in an off-the-ball incident in the third quarter of last Friday night's game at Telstra Dome, but argued the punch was to the Cats star's chest and not high, as the match review panel viewed the incident.

Umpire Stephen McBurney said McVeigh's "short, sharp jab" made contact to Ablett's upper chest or lower throat area, near the point of where a shirt collar would sit.

McVeigh gave a more definitive version and was adamant he made contact to Ablett's chest, not his neck.

"I wanted to hit him in the chest so I just hit him there," he said.

Video footage showed Ablett holding his jumper and grimacing, but McVeigh said his opponent had made the incident look worse to attract McBurney's attention and get the Cats a free kick - which he did.

"He made it look worse than what it was," McVeigh said.

"It would have hurt a bit but he wasn't struggling for breath.

"He got back on the horse straight away and ran halfway down the field and I chased him all the way."

Ablett told the tribunal he could not recall being punched, only pushed, which prompted AFL legal counsel Andrew Tinney to claim there was "unsatisfactory" aspects of the evidence because Ablett wanted to help a fellow player.

The jury reduced McVeigh's demerit total from 185.63 points to 103.12, which could make a difference should he encounter trouble again under the points-based judicial system.

McVeigh said after the hearing: "I got the points total down because I hit him in the chest, but I feel disappointed that I've let my teammates, team and supporters down."

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