A suburban football player in Victoria has been handed a life ban for a vicious attack that left an opponent sidelined for at least a month.
Thomastown player Simon Harraka was found guilty of striking at the Northern Football League tribunal on Monday.
He was given a whopping 17-week suspension, which automatically results in a lifetime ban.
“Any inappropriate acts, we are not going to mess around with them,” NFL boss Peter McDougall told the Herald Sun.
“We are going to take them seriously, which historically we have shown that by the numbers that have been put out there.”
Harraka reportedly left the bench during a scuffle and punched Watsonia player Kyle Page three times in the face.
Page was left with a black eye and concussion, and has been advised to sit out a month of footy.
It’s the third life ban handed down by the league in the past two years, and comes just days after West Coast Eagles star Andrew Gaff was given an eight-game ban from the AFL for punching Freo youngster Andrew Brayshaw.
The long suspension has ended Gaff’s 2018 season, with three home-and-away and a maximum of four finals games left for the top-two Eagles.
“I just want to say I’m so, so sorry to Andrew and the Brayshaw family for the pain I’ve caused them over the last 48 hours,” Gaff said on Tuesday night.
“I’m really disappointed in my own actions and it really hurts a lot. The last 48 hours have probably been the toughest couple of days of my life.”
Gaff pleaded guilty to intentionally striking Brayshaw in Sunday night’s western derby, with the Dockers youngster undergoing surgery to repair his fractured jaw later that night.
Club doctor Ken Withers said Brayshaw is likely to require implants to replace the three teeth that were displaced by the punch.
A remorseful Gaff said he had attempted to hit Brayshaw in the head after being impeded by his opponent away from the ball.
“I feel sick that I got him in the face. I had no intention to hit him where I hit him,” he told the tribunal.
“I tried to do a similar hit to what I did 10 seconds earlier with my right arm.”
Last year, former AFL diversity manager Ali Fahour was given a life ban from the Northern Football League for punching an opponent.