Ballan forward Chris Wilkinson suspended for striking Daylesford player

BALLAN forward Chris Wilkinson has been automatically de-registered from AFL-sanctioned Victorian football competition.

Wilkinson was dealt a two-match ban from the AFL Goldfields Independent Tribunal on Tuesday night when found guilty for striking Daylesford’s Edward Cooper. 

Wilkinson won his right to play again after a life ban was struck in 2011, and the penalty enacts his blacklisting again. However, he is still able to appeal the deregistration.

Wilkinson faced the tribunal after an independent investigation into the incident with Cooper from a round one reserves game in the Central Highlands Football League on April 11.

Cooper, aged 18, told the tribunal he had sustained an elbow to his right cheek, had been a little dazed, and took himself off the ground after spitting blood.

He consulted a doctor for soft tissue damage and a dentist for a consequent infection to the cuts in his mouth from the incident.

Cooper and teammate Sam Winnard told the tribunal that Winnard had remonstrated with Wilkinson immediately after the incident and Wilkinson had been dragged.

Wilkinson told the tribunal he had no recollection of any incident in the fourth quarter.

The Blues suggested to the tribunal that Cooper could have sustained injuries to his jaw in a first-quarter collision with Wilkinson.

They called on two teammates and reserves coach David O’Hanlon, who each said they had not seen any incident involving Wilkinson in the fourth quarter.

O’Hanlon said he had pulled Wilkinson off the ground almost half-way into the final term because Wilkinson had been taking numerous hits from the Bulldogs in his first game back for Ballan and, knowing Wilkinson’s record, he had wanted to avoid trouble.

Wilkinson came back on the ground late in the day to fill in at full forward but was soon sent from the ground for arguing with the umpire.

The tribunal deliberated for 15 minutes to uphold the striking charge and a further 12 minutes to determine his match penalty.

The tribunal told Wilkinson it had particularly considered where contact was made, the severity of the blow, in that Cooper had needed to seek medical attention from a doctor and a dentist, and Wilkinson’s record.

Wilkinson was given a life ban in 2011 while playing with Sebastopol in the Ballarat Football League when he had reached the 16-week suspension tally threshold.

He was re-registered last year, while still with the Burras, and transferred to Ballan this season.

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