Bomber banned for biting by AFL tribunal

By Jason Phelan, Jason Phelan is a Roar Guru

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    A guilty plea and clear contrition wasn’t enough to save Essendon defender Conor McKenna from a three-game suspension for biting at Tuesday’s AFL Tribunal hearing.

    McKenna pleaded guilty to the charge of serious misconduct in the 90-minute hearing at the AFL’s Etihad Stadium headquarters.

    Jury members Wayne Henwood, Stewart Loewe and Michael Jamison deliberated for six minutes before arriving at the penalty for biting Western Bulldogs forward Tory Dickson.

    The Irishman offered a short statement, but didn’t take questions as he left the hearing.

    “I’d like to take full responsibility for my actions,” McKenna said.

    “I’m really sorry for what I’ve done and I’m just looking forward to moving on now.”

    The 22-year-old will miss Sunday’s home game against Port Adelaide, the Anzac Day clash against Collingwood and the round-six encounter with Melbourne.

    The incident occurred during the second quarter of Essendon’s 21-point loss to the Dogs at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

    McKenna was tackled to the ground by Dickson and they had a brief scuffle with the Bomber pinning his opponent to the ground.

    Dickson appeared to complain to Bulldogs staff when he ran to the bench immediately after the incident.

    Dickson and Bulldogs football chief Ben Graham met with the Bombers’ legal team before the tribunal hearing but the forward was not required to give evidence.

    In written submissions, the contact was described by Dickson as a “quick nip” that didn’t break the skin and required no treatment.

    Photo evidence that showed a small red mark near Dickson’s Adam’s Apple was also submitted.

    McKenna was not called to give evidence in his defence.

    Retired Sydney Swans premiership star and countryman Tadgh Kennelly gave McKenna a glowing character reference via a telephone link.

    TAC Cup coach and senior Victoria Police officer Marty Allison was also due to give a character reference, but two attempts to contact him went through to voicemail.

    Former AFL football chief Adrian Anderson represented McKenna.

    He made several references to a previous case of biting in which West Coast’s Chris Masten was suspended for two games for biting Fremantle’s Nick Suban.

    Anderson argued the penalty should be a minimum of a financial fine and a maximum ban of two matches.

    Jeff Gleeson QC acting for the AFL recommended a three-game suspension was appropriate given McKenna’s guilty plea, clear remorse and apology.

    © AAP 2018
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    The Crowd Says (10)

    • April 11th 2018 @ 8:25am
      Birdman said | April 11th 2018 @ 8:25am | ! Report

      Essendon. lol

    • Roar Guru

      April 11th 2018 @ 9:16am
      JamesH said | April 11th 2018 @ 9:16am | ! Report

      Nice input as always, Birdman.

      I’m a bit surprised this was three weeks. Masten broke the skin and pleaded not guilty, yet got two. McKenna pleaded guilty and barely left a mark, yet gets more.

      Still, hard to complain about a suspension for something so dumb.

      • April 11th 2018 @ 9:52am
        truetigerfan said | April 11th 2018 @ 9:52am | ! Report

        Got off lightly if you ask me!

      • April 11th 2018 @ 11:34am
        Aransan said | April 11th 2018 @ 11:34am | ! Report

        I was surprised McKenna was caught as he has always been very quick. He looks as though he has bulked up in his upper body and I wonder if he has lost speed because of that. This may have caused him frustration but does not excuse his action. Similarly, Stringer looks as though he has bulked up. Years ago Mathew Lloyd increased his upper body strength which appeared to reduce his agility.

        • Roar Guru

          April 11th 2018 @ 11:41am
          Dalgety Carrington said | April 11th 2018 @ 11:41am | ! Report

          Part of the problem for McKenna trying to get away was that Tory already had a heap of momentum and speed up and didn’t really have to change direction, whereas McKenna did have to arc around and had the ball to boot, which always slows you down.

      • April 11th 2018 @ 12:23pm
        Birdman said | April 11th 2018 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

        admittedly not my most intellectual contribution JamesH, but I am a Hawks member so I’m kind of obliged to take delight in the woes of those in red and black.

        • April 11th 2018 @ 12:28pm
          truetigerfan said | April 11th 2018 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

          Also, Birdman, Essendon fans can’t take light-hearted banter at their expense! Guess a lack of success has them in a touchy state of being. Poor things.

          • April 11th 2018 @ 12:37pm
            Birdman said | April 11th 2018 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

            and long may it continue…


    • April 11th 2018 @ 7:54pm
      Philby said | April 11th 2018 @ 7:54pm | ! Report

      When he comes back, they should put him at half forward.

      It might give their attack more bite…

    • April 12th 2018 @ 8:23am
      Knoxy said | April 12th 2018 @ 8:23am | ! Report

      Hopefully that will teach him not to let his teeth go out of bounds.

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