Jet facing big ban for horror grand final red card

Emma Kemp

Roy O'Donovan is set to face the wrath of the A-League's match review panel for his kung-fu kick to Lawrence Thomas' face during the A-League grand final.

The Newcastle Jets striker was hit with a straight red card after his high kick collected Thomas flush in the jaw during injury-time of Melbourne Victory's 1-0 win.

The Irishman, famous for his on-field volatility, arrived late to the challenge as the keeper rushed out to retrieve a Dimi Petratos free-kick.

Referee Jarred Gillett issued a straight red card for the reckless incident that sparked a melee and could see O'Donovan cop a lengthy ban considering his disciplinary record.

Roy O'Donovan saw red after this shocking incident late in the grand final. Pic: Getty

It's his second sending-off this season after he was handed a two-match ban in March for his "assault" on Sydney FC defender Jordy Buijs.

In January 2016 he was hit with an eight-week suspension for a headbutt on Wellington's Manny Muscat.

Merrick, the Phoenix coach at the time, described the incident as "going back to the dark ages".

On Saturday, Victory coach Kevin Muscat said "it was just lucky someone didn't get really badly hurt" although Jets captain Nigel Boogaard defended his teammate.

"To be honest with you, from where I was - and I was right behind it - the ball's in the air, he's sticking a foot at it," Boogaard said.

"It's a grand final, there's five minutes to go, and Lawrence Thomas has come out and been brave.

"To be honest I would have stuck a foot at it. All those players in the opposition team, if they were 1-0 down would have thrown themselves at the ball as well.

"Yeah, it looked ugly but I guarantee you Roy had eyes on the ball."

The MRP is due to meet on Monday.