A-League: Jets lodge appeal against severity of O’Donovan banphotos

OVER THE TOP: The Newcastle Jets have appealed against the severity of the 10-match ban issued to Roy O’Donovan for his high-foot challenge on Melbourne Victory goal-keeper Lawrence Thomas in the grand final. Picture: Max Mason-HubersNEWCASTLE Jets have formally appealed against the severity of the 10-game suspension handed to Roy O’Donovan but have asked for the hearing to be delayed until the striker returns from Ireland late next month.
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As it stands, O’Donovan will sit out a third of the 2018-19 campaign after Football Federation ‘s Disciplinary-and-Ethics Committee (DEC) took a hard-line stance over what they labelled a”flying kick” on Victory keeper Lawrence Thomas in the 93rd minute of the Jets’ 1-0 loss in the title decider on May 6.

The sanction is the second-longest in the competition’s history, behind only the nine months Danny Vukovic copped for striking a referee when playing for Central Coast against the Jets in the 2008 grand final.

Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna said the club and the Professional Footballers (players’ union) believed the ban was “over the top”.

“It was definitely dangerous play, and no-one is disputing the fact that it was wrong,” said McKinna. “If you compare it tosuspensions that have been handed out in the past, we think it is over the top. Roywas very professional in the way he took news of the suspension, but he certainly feels he same as the club in that it was over the top.”

The PFA,who will again supply a barrister to represent O’Donovan, filed the appeal on Wednesday, which costs the Jets $2000.

“We have asked for the appeal to be heard after Roygets back from holidays on June 26,” McKinna said.

A-League: Jets lodge appeal against severity of O’Donovan ban TweetFacebook Roy O’Donovan challengePictures: Max Mason’Hubers The appeal will be adjudicated by an independent three-person panel including a President, which is usually a Queen’s Counsel, and an ex-player.

The panel has thejurisdiction to reduce or increase the suspension and or come up with its own sanction.

In handing down the DEC’s finding last Friday, chairman John Marshall SC stated:”It is possibly the most dangerous play ever made in the A-League.”

Thomas was not seriously injured in O’Donovan’s challenge and played out the final moments before being awarded the Joe Marston medal for player of the match.

FFA Cup matches count towards the suspensionand O’Donovan could serve as many as four, depending how far the Jets progress, before the A-League starts.

It was the Irishman’s fourth red card in three seasons and second in his first campaign for Newcastle.However, McKinna said the ban would not come at a financial cost for the player.

However, the length of the suspension has altered the Jets’ recruitment strategy.

“It is not just the fact that we are missing Roy, there are other ramifications,” McKinna said. “It changes our recruitment targets and effects the salary cap as well.We have re-signed a lot of boys on upgrades. Now we have to go into the market fora striker who can cover Roy and maybe play wide as well.”

McKinna said he had been contacted by a number of agents but it was still only early days.

“It most likely to be an overseas player but we haven’t drawn up a short list or anything,” he said. “Ernie Merrick is away [on holidays] but myself and Joel have been emailing him and speaking every other day.”

The Jets return for pre-season training on June 28.

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