The Northern Jets are ‘extremely disappointed’ in a two-week ban handed down to Jade Curtis but will accept the decision of the tribunal.
The young midfielder will miss the last two home-and-away matches of the season after he was found guilty of striking Coleambally’s Tom Morton last week.
Curtis was reported twice for striking Morton. He had already accepted a reprimand for an incident in the third quarter but fronted the tribunal on Thursday night to plead not guilty to a charge from the second quarter, when he was reported by Coleambally’s boundary umpire.
However, he was found guilty by the independent tribunal.
“We at the Northern Jets are extremely disappointed with the outcome with such inconclusive evidence being heard,” Jets president Andrew Clark said.
Clark declined to make any further comment but said the club wouldn’t be appealing the decision.
Curtis will miss Saturday’s game against Marrar and the Jets’ round 18 game against East Wagga-Kooringal.
“He’s a massive loss for us,” Jets coach Mitch Robinson said. “He started the year off on fire and the last two weeks (against North Wagga and Coleambally) he got his mojo back.”
The Jets weren’t aware until after the game that Curtis had been reported in the second quarter.
He was yellow carded in the third quarter but players reported twice are supposed to be given a red card.
With an early guilty plea, Curtis could’ve missed just Saturday’s Marrar match but Robinson said the Jets didn’t think twice about accepting a one-week ban.
“He was reported for two incidents and I was more worried about the second one (for which he was given a reprimand),” Robinson said.
“He didn’t think he’d done anything wrong (in the second quarter) and for me, that’s enough.
“And I think this week’s our biggest week of the year – bigger than next week.”
The Jets are in a desperate battle for finals with EWK, who currently hold fifth by four percentage points.
“If we win this, our destiny’s still in our hands. We’re not going into next week trying to win and make up percentage,” Robinson said.
They regain the services of schoolboy star Jeromy Lucas, who has kicked 11 goals in four games and was among their best in the loss to Marrar at Langtry Oval.
“He’ll be playing again,” Robinson said.
“He gives us that target down forward and it allows us to free someone else up down there.”
Robinson said the 38-point loss to the Bombers earlier in the year wasn’t as bad as it looked, noting they had their share of ball, but turned it over across half-forward.
Clint Taylor’s return to centre-half-back for Marrar won’t help that cause, and Robinson knows the Bombers have plenty of guns beyond their defence.
“They've got the ability to stop teams but they’ve also got players in attack who, when they’re up and going, they’re hard to stop,” he said.
“It comes down to your midfield pressure, that’s what helps the backmen out so much and that’s what won us the game against North Wagga (two weeks ago).”