Friday, 4 July 2008

Australian rules player jailed for punch

A COUNTRY footballer sentenced to jail for an onfield punch says he is shocked by the verdict and believes a match suspension would have been sufficient punishment.

Trent Stanimirovitch, 28, who plays Australian rules football for Whorouly, near the Victorian town of Wangaratta, was sentenced by a magistrate on Wednesday to two months in jail.

An AFL spokesman said yesterday he was not aware of any other instance of a player being jailed for misbehaviour on the field.

Stanimirovitch punched an opponent behind play during an Ovens & King Football League match against Glenrowan last year. The victim was knocked unconscious, his teeth were driven though his lips and he suffered permanent scarring.

The magistrate, Pauline Spencer, told Stanimirovitch brutality and cowardly acts would not be tolerated.

He pleaded guilty to recklessly causing serious injury, but has lodged an appeal against the severity of the sentence. He has been released on bail and both teams are supporting his appeal.

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