DEPUTY Premier Bryan Green says he was standing up for himself and the government when he ``remonstrated strongly'' with a Northern Midlands councillor at the AFL grand final, but has denied punching him.
The Examiner revealed yesterday that Mr Green and Cr Ian Goninon, who is also president of South Launceston Football Club, clashed at Saturday's AFL grand final in Melbourne.
Cr Goninon left the ground with a bloodied nose, which he says was the result of a punch to the face from the Deputy Premier _ a claim emphatically denied by Mr Green yesterday.
Mr Green said he turned around twice to ask Cr Goninon to stop his heckling, more forcefully the second time.
Witnesses told The Examiner they saw Mr Green push Cr Goninon back into his seat, but Mr Green said he did not touch him.
``It was close and personal I admit, I didn't punch him, I didn't hit him, I didn't do anything that I believe would hurt him,'' Mr Green said.
``I probably should have just kept my back to him and not said a word, but then again I've never shied away from any argument with anyone and when people are just talking about you in a way that is just not correct or inappropriate then, of course, I'm going to stick up for myself.''
Mr Green, who was caught drink-driving in 2011, had a couple of alcoholic drinks over lunch before consuming about four mid-strength beers at the football, but said he was not intoxicated.
``I conducted myself appropriately.''
Labor MLC Craig Farrell joined Mr Green at the match and was surprised an elected representative would behave so poorly.
``[Cr Goninon] started off very early by being quite rude to Bryan and calling him a tosser and saying how he had come to Melbourne to get away from people like him,'' Mr Farrell said.
After meeting with his solicitors yesterday Cr Goninon declined to comment.
Earlier he repeated his claims that he was punched in the face causing blood to rush from his nose.
``I know I got punched,'' he said.
Cr Goninon said he still had a headache from the incident and would see a doctor today.
Deputy opposition leader Jeremy Rockliff said the incident involving one of the state's most senior politicians reflected badly on the entire state.
Premier Lara Giddings backed her deputy, saying she was satisfied with his version of events.