9 Jan 2016

Mariners to appeal headbutt ban

5:41 pm on 9 January 2016

The Central Coast Mariners will appeal the severity of the eight-match A-League ban handed to striker Roy O'Donovan for his New Year's Eve headbutt on Wellington Phoenix defender Manny Muscat.

Football Federation Australia's independent disciplinary committee issued O'Donovan with the second-longest ban in the competition's history on Wednesday for the incident that occurred during the Mariners' 3-1 win over the Phoenix.

The Mariners' Roy O'Donovan headbutts the Phoenix's Manny Muscat

The Mariners' Roy O'Donovan headbutts the Phoenix's Manny Muscat Photo: Fox Sports

The club will argue the sanction was disproportionately harsh compared with the two-week suspension the match review panel gave Muscat for elbowing O'Donovan in the face moments before the headbutt.

Central Coast coach Tony Walmsley said the penalty was ""very harsh."

"If you look at (the) precedent, it's an incredibly harsh punishment."

In handing down their decision on Wednesday, the committee pointed out that had Muscat been referred to them, a more serious body than the match review panel, they would have deemed his actions worthy of more hefty punishment.

Manny Muscat

Manny Muscat Photo: Photosport

Muscat will miss this week's match against the Brisbane and the next match against Newcastle.

His suspension comes amidst a several suspension and injury woes the Phoenix currently have.

Among the injury woes Veteran defender Ben Sigmund is still recovering from a hamstring injury and is likely to be out for several more weeks while striker Roy Krishna is out for a month with an ankle injury .

Several other players including skipper Andrew Durante sit on four yellow cards - a fifth is automatic suspension.

Coach Ernie Merrick doesn't believe his side has a disciplinary problem but rather is simply bearing the brunt of poor refereeing decisions.


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