Jets striker handed massive ban for horror GF tackle

Emma Kemp

Roy O'Donovan has been slugged with a 10-match ban for his A-League grand-final kung-fu kick on Lawrence Thomas.

Having deferred its decision after Tuesday night's hearing, Football Federation Australia's disciplinary and ethics committee has taken a tough stance on the Newcastle striker, who will sit out a chunk of next season, although can serve some of his sentence in the FFA Cup.

O'Donovan has seven days to appeal.

During the hearing O'Donovan's counsel Simon Philips conceded his head-high lunge into Thomas' face was "careless" and "reckless" but argued he'd made a genuine play for the ball in a desperate attempt to equalise in the game's final seconds.

But after viewing video footage and accessing 97 still photographs the disciplinary committee wasn't buying it, contending the "Hail Mary attempt" was always likely to endanger Thomas as he rushed out for the ball.

FFA's counsel Ivan Griscti also observed "it does appear that the player is looking at the goalkeeper".

O'Donovan, who was issued a straight red card and charged with serious foul play, pleaded his case at length via video link from his native Ireland and claimed he'd originally intended to go for a header before the ball skewed slightly left.

Jets striker Roy O'Donovan has been hit with a 10-week A-League ban for kicking Lawrence Thomas. Pic: AAP

"I had to make a split-second decision to go with my foot in the hope that if I got a touch the reward was massive - we had a chance to win the grand final," O'Donovan said.

"As soon as I left the ground there was no way to stop."

The 32-year-old also argued his vision was blurred after copping a stray elbow from Besart Berisha moments earlier, and was soon rendered "completely blind" when the ball passed in front of the stadium floodlights and could only hope his trajectory and timing was right.

"I feel if my eye was perfect my timing would have been a bit better," O'Donovan said.

"As a striker you have a responsibility to attack the ball ... unfortunately this time I hit the goalkeeper in the face which I'm devastated about.

"I have never set out to hurt anybody in my career, nor will I."

Philips likened O'Donovan's challenge to that of Sadio Mane on Manchester City gloveman Ederson last September, for which the Liverpool attacker received a three-match suspension.