NORTH Albury forward Lachie Taylor-Nugent has been suspended for five matches for an off-the-ball hit that left his Wodonga opponent suffering blurred vision and numbness to his face.
The Hopper pleaded guilty on Wednesday night to intentionally striking Daniel Wortmann in the second quarter of an Ovens and Murray match at Bunton Park on July 21.
The pair pushed one another off the ball before Taylor-Nugent punched Wortmann in the head, leading to a fractured left orbit.
The Bulldog, who was felled by the blow, told the league tribunal he suffered blurred vision which forced him off work and continuing numbness to the face.
Taylor-Nugent admitted instigating the pushing but claimed he was punched to the head by Wortmann.
“I received a knock to the head, to which I retaliated,” he said.
The goal kicker said he had recently had surgery for a broken nose and concern over that being targeted led to a “brain fade”.
“It was never my intention to hurt, it was just a reaction,” Taylor-Nugent said.
“It was just a lash out.”
Wortmann did not concede that he had hit Taylor-Nugent’s chin.
The tribunal was told in medical evidence that Wortmann would not have been able to resume playing until September 1.
His advocate Matt Moylan argued Taylor-Nugent should be suspended for the duration of that period.
North Albury advocate Mark Deegan responded by saying “we’re not the AFL” and the tribunal was not bound by the length of time the victim was sidelined.
He said Taylor-Nugent deserved a discount based on his clean record, guilty plea and no attempt at defence.
Deegan called for a three to four-week suspension for what he said “was a reckless act more so than intentional”.
Character references for Taylor-Nugent were tendered from North Albury figures Mark Hilton, David Miles and Jason Akermanis.
In his finding, independent tribunal chairman Wayne Taylor said it was an off-the-ball incident which resulted in a player missing five games of football.
In handing out a five-match suspension, Taylor said the three-man panel, which deliberated for a short period, had taken into account Taylor-Nugent’s plea, remorse and good record.
He said the tribunal made no findings in relation to what unfolded before Wortmann was struck down.
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