Adelaide United defender Michael Marrone has been handed a two-game ban for his FFA Cup brain-fade.
Marrone fronted an FFA disciplinary hearing in Sydney on Tuesday night to answer for the ugly incident in which he appeared to tackle a ball-boy while trying to get his side back into the match.
He was handed a four-match ban with two games suspended.
Having already served the mandatory one-game suspension for a red card last weekend, Marrone will miss this weekend’s cup final rematch against Sydney before being available for selection when the Reds take on Melbourne Victory on December 8.
A club spokesman said the decision was “[a] fair and reasonable result”.
Marrone’s representative argued that he did not participate in the melee which followed, nor did he retaliate to Matt Simon’s furious shirtfront.
At the hearing, a remorseful Marrone admitted the incident was ugly and offered an explanation for his actions.
“It doesn’t look good,” he said.
“But at the time I just wanted to get the ball back. I was motioning for the ball, and at one point it seemed like he wasn’t going to give me the ball.
“I just wanted to take a throw-in, there wasn’t much time left. I thought, I’m going to grab the ball off him.
“I thought I was just going to be able to take it from his hands, but he moved and it looked very ugly.”
The committee took into account Marrone’s exceptional disciplinary record to date and acknowledged the circumstances of the dismissal, given his desperation to restart play having just gone a goal down with very little time remaining in the match.
But FFA counsel Ivan Griscti said the boy may not be entirely innocent, suggesting he may have exaggerated the contact and embellished his injuries.
“[H]e seems to start limping … he grabs his thigh,” Griscti said.
Marrone had the support of his teammates and the Professional Footballers Association, who said he should have never been cited.
“This could and should have been dealt with promptly,” PFA chief John Didulica said last week.
“Michael was punished with a red card and in our view that is sufficient.
“We have already spoken with Michael and offered unconditional support to help defend the reputation of one of the absolute gentlemen of the sport.”
Marrone said he had already reached out to the ball-boy and his family after the incident.