Player banned for eight weeks

Bridport full-forward Steve McKillop
Bridport full-forward Steve McKillop

AN INDEPENDENT tribunal last night suspended Greg Medcraft for eight weeks, after the East Coast Swans' player was found guilty of striking Bridport full-forward Steve McKillop during a North-East Football Union match two weeks ago.

The behind-play incident occurred 10 minutes into a Bridport and East Coast Swans reserves match at Bridport on Saturday, May 17.

McKillop was hospitalised after receiving two fractured cheekbones, a broken eye socket, broken jawbone, fractured sinus bone and dental damage.

Medcraft was removed from the ground at quarter-time following the incident.

No umpires report was lodged, but the NEFU charged Medcraft and sent the matter to the Northern Tasmanian Football Association tribunal for independent deliberation.

The NTFA's Greg Hay said Medcraft's previous good record was taken into consideration.

``In the course of the evidence it was not confirmed that it was a king-hit, which also mitigated it [the penalty],'' Hay said.

Tasmania Police said investigations by St Helens officers into the incident were  ongoing.

NEFU president Leon Quilliam said the union would accept the tribunal's decision and move on.

``In my opinion it [the penalty] wouldn't want to have been any less, it's satisfactory . . . hopefully that's the last of it,'' Quilliam said.

``Hopefully some good will come out of it and hopefully the media will print some positive stuff, instead of being all negative.

``As far as the NEFU is concerned, we will not condone violence in football.''

East Coast Swans vice-president Rob McIntyre said he was disappointed that the incident had previously been reported as a king-hit, while Bridport president Jamie McDougall declined to comment.

It has been a tumultuous month for Tasmanian football, in which brawls have forced umpires to abandon several games across the state.

The NTFA last week stripped both Fingal and Old Scotch football clubs of premiership points and imposed hefty fines, after a fight ended their division 2 match on Saturday, May 10.