WODONGA Raiders defender Jordan Rouse will sit out the clash against Wodonga on Saturday after being found guilty of rough conduct towards Wangaratta youngster Joe Richards in a spiteful clash late last month.
At the end of a marathon case lasting more than four hours, the Ovens and Murray independent tribunal last night handed down a three-match suspension, but two of those games have been suspended until the end of next season.
Tribunal chairman Wayne Taylor said it had been established Richards had been concussed in the clash with Rouse and missed the following round.
Richards told the tribunal “my jaw on the right side was sore” from the contact and Magpies president and dentist Tony Goodison assessed the young gun for teeth damage after the match.
Richards accepted he stayed on the ground for more than six minutes after the incident, which sparked a large melee, but eventually came off and took no further part in the match.
Magpies’ trainer Di Baker said she instructed the club’s runner to bring Richards from the ground where she conducted two concussion tests on him.
“He wasn’t himself. The lights were on, but no one was home,” she said.
Team-mate Mick Newton said he saw contact made to Richards’ head region.
“When you do bump, your arms goes up. He got a pretty good one,” Newton, who was opposed to Rouse at the time of the incident, said.
But second year Raiders player Rouse denied making contact to the head.
“I simply stood my ground,” he said.
“It was as much a block as an attempt to protect myself. I wasn’t malicious in raising an elbow.”
Rouse said tensions were running high for most of the match which resulted in an injury-riddled Wangaratta hanging on for a memorable victory.
Umpire Adam Larkins said there was nothing to warrant a report in the incident and the blocking move made by Rouse happened “30 to 40 times in a match”.
Raiders coach Daryn Cresswell and Ethan Boxall also gave evidence in support of Rouse