Lambton Jaffas coach James Pascoe says the club can't condone the behaviour of Luke Remington but they can understand his reaction when lashing out at Weston's Zac Sneddon on Saturday.
Remington, the Northern NSW NPL 2015 player of the year, was shown a straight red card in stoppage time of the Jaffas' round two 3-2 loss at Edden Oval on Saturday and was on Tuesday handed a two-game suspension.
The 2017 grand final man of the match hit Sneddon high with a swinging arm from behind after taking exception to a challenge. Players rushed in, pushing and shoving, as Sneddon lay on the ground. He was treated before being taken off.
The drama came almost a year to the day since the pair were sent off late in the first half of the round 18 clash at Weston Park. In that incident, the two became tangled in a long battle for possession before they hit the turf and fought briefly until separated.
Pascoe said Remington "did the crime and needs to do the time" but "there's a whole layer of context around what happened that people need to weigh up".
"Twelve months ago Sneddo punched Remo in the back of the head, Remo retaliated and they both got sent off," Pascoe said.
"Then on the weekend Remington was on for about 20 minutes and there were no inflammatory actions from him until the one time they came near each other and Sneddon dives off his feet, studs up and collects Remington ... I'm in no way suggesting that Luke's reaction is acceptable, but there is context around it.
"If the boy doesn't dive in off his feet, studs up, Luke doesn't react the way he does, then you factor in last year when he got hit in the back of the head for no reason, I understand it. I don't condone it but I understand the frustration.
"As a club we've spoken to Luke about the fact his reaction wasn't what we expect and isn't what we stand for, but we understand the frustration."
Remington's suspension of one match, plus the one-game automatic ban for the send-off, is less than the penalty given to Edgeworth's Oliver Smith last year for a headbutt.
Remington's action was deemed "violent conduct and/or attempted violent conduct towards an opponent" under Northern NSW Football regulations. It's the minimum sanction for violent conduct.
Smith's was labelled "serious violent conduct", which brings an extra match under the penalty scale. Players face a minimum of four games out if the incident causes "bodily harm or responsibility for a melee". They get at least five if it causes or has the potential to cause serious injury.
Weston coach Leo Bertos said Sneddon was "all right".
"We weren't too sure if he had any trouble so we just decided to make the quick change because there wasn't much time left," Bertos said.
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