Conor McKenna cops suspension for biting

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.

McKenna. Image: Getty

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.

Image: Channel 7

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.

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