WANGARATTA midfielder Matt Kelly has been suspended for one match by the Ovens and Murray independent tribunal.
Kelly was found guilty of making high contact with Wodonga first-gamer Connor Brodie during the final quarter of their clash at Wodonga’s John Flower Oval on July 29.
He will miss Saturday’s clash against North Albury.
My focus was to play the ball as that’s how I play. The ball was in dispute and I was trying to win it.
While tribunal chairman Wayne Taylor agreed the force was low-range, he said the head was “sacrosanct” and Kelly had been careless in his actions.
Kelly, who pleaded not guilty, said he was surprised to be reported by field umpire Matt Tom.
“My focus was to play the ball as that’s how I play,” Kelly said.
“The ball was in dispute and I was trying to win it.”
Brodie said he felt contact to the head and was taken from the ground where he passed a concussion test.
He returned to the ground within 10 minutes and played out the match.
Umpires advocate Shane Downie said Kelly had no intent to hurt Brodie but needed to take more care in his approach.
“It was careless, but no more than that,” Downie said.
Kelly has played 190 matches for Wangaratta with his only previous suspension being two weeks in 2013.
Meanwhile, North Albury ruckman Josh Lloyd was outed for one match for making high contact with Lavington midfielder Sam Harris at Bunton Park.
He pleaded not guilty to the incident in the first quarter.