NATHALIA footballer Brodie Ross has been handed just a four-match ban for a sickening hit on Echuca United’s Tom McMinn that left the Eagle in hospital with facial injuries.
At a tribunal hearing of the Murray Football League on Monday night, Ross was found guilty of elbowing McMinn more than 50 metres away from the play during the round 11 match on June 24 this year.
Ross avoided a more serious punishment likely due to his stellar disciplinary record, not having been reported in more than a decade at the club.
It was alleged McMinn instigated contact with Ross with the Nathalia player swinging his elbow into his face in an attempt to shrug him off.
With no witnesses able to provide an account of what happened, the independent tribunal could only rely on the evidence of the players involved in the incident.
United was advised by the Murray Football League it has no avenue to appeal the length of the suspension, with only a player able to appeal a sanction.
Committee member Leigh Davis expected a more severe penalty, but said the club was keen to put the incident behind it.
‘‘The club is disappointed with the result but we just want to move on,’’ he said.
‘‘We hope to be playing finals this season and we’ve got Moama this weekend, so we want to focus on that.’’
McMinn, who had to cancel his near month-long trip to Europe as a result of the injuries, suffered three cheekbone fractures with three smaller fractures to his eye socket as well.
The suspension means Ross will be back by round 17 in time for the Purples’ tilt at a third straight premiership.
Ross was instrumental in last year’s grand final, kicking four goals including one in the dying stages to lift the side to a three-point win.
Unable to provide comment on the verdict, Murray Football League general manager Dale Norman said there were no winners in tribunal matters.
‘‘I’d like to wish Tom the quickest possible recovery and hope he’s back on the park as soon as possible,’’ he said.