WESTERN Storm footballer Darryn Thomas last night received a reprieve after he was found not guilty by the TSL tribunal on a stomping charge arising from last Sunday’s State League match against Launceston.
The 21-year-old Thomas was facing the prospect of de-registration as a player and a life-ban from the game if found guilty after accruing a career total of 16 weeks suspension in NTFA and TSL football – the maximum allowed under the AFL’s regulations.
Thomas was reported for stomping on the leg of Launceston’s Tom Cleary in the third quarter of the game but pleaded not guilty to the charge at the tribunal hearing which lasted about 90 minutes.
Both Thomas, Cleary and the reporting umpire were interviewed by the three-man tribunal which considered the evidence and reached the not guilty verdict.
‘‘They found that contact was insufficient to be considered rough conduct or unreasonable in the circumstances,’’ AFL Tasmania operations manager Wayne Povey said after the hearing.
‘‘The tribunal concluded from the evidence that the contact was incidental and not intentional, reckless or negligent and therefore found him not guilty of the charge.’’
Western storm president Michelle Strickland said both Thomas and the club were relieved with the outcome.
‘‘We’re very pleased with the verdict and feel that the outcome was warranted,’’ she said.
‘‘We felt that the charge was unwarranted but these things happen – Darryn pleaded not guilty and as it turned out the tribunal had a unanimous finding that he was not guilty.
‘‘That’s a really good outcome for Darryn and also for the club.’’
Strickland said Thomas was under a formidable amount of scrutiny for a player of his age and it was a relief to have the matter behind them.
‘‘Darryn was hugely relieved and very pleased and he is under no illusion about the massive implication for him and his football if he is found guilty of any charge,’’ she said.