GISBORNE ruckman Tom Waters will miss Sunday’s qualifying final against Sandhurst after being suspended for one match by the BFNL tribunal on Thursday night.
Waters was found guilty of headbutting Kangaroo Flat’s Linc Frost in the third quarter of last Saturday’s clash. Earlier in the night Frost was suspended for three weeks after pleading guilty to striking Gisborne’s Ethan Minns.
Waters’ incident with Frost occurred after the Roos’ defender had been shown a yellow card for striking Minns.
Frost was being escorted from the ground when Waters moved in front of him to “fly the flag”.
Reporting umpire Dean Goodridge said Waters made a headbutting motion to Frost at a force he rated “five out of 10”.
“There wasn’t a lot in it, but there was a headbutt,’’ Goodridge told the tribunal.
Waters admitted contact was made between the two players, but denied deliberately headbutting Frost.
“We touched heads… no Kangaroo Flat players remonstrated me,’’ Waters said.
“I was surprised that I was reported.”
Frost said the incident caused a minor lump on his forehead.
After a lengthy deliberation the tribunal found Waters guilty.
Waters’ advocate Iain Findlay called on the tribunal to hand the Gisborne star a severe reprimand or suspended sentence because of his exemplary record, but his plea was to no avail.
Frost’s clean record and the fact Minns didn’t get injured saved him from a longer stint on the sidelines.
Video evidence showed Minns bump Frost in the back after Gisborne forward Pat McKenna had taken a mark over the Roos’ defender.
Frost responded by striking Minns with a right fist to the left side of the Gisborne forward’s jaw.
Minns fell to the ground, sparking a melee involving more than 25 players.
“I was upset because I thought I should have been paid a free kick and I reacted in a way I shouldn’t have,’’ Frost told the tribunal.
“I knew I’d stuffed up.”
A distressed Minns was taken from the ground for treatment. He returned 15 minutes later after passing a concussion test.
“You are very lucky that Ethan Minns didn’t suffer any injuries,’’ tribunal chairman Alan Smith told Frost.
“Causing a melee like that is not acceptable.
“We’ve taken your good record into account and we suspend you for three matches.”