WEST Perth will not appeal a WAFL tribunal decision to ban Reserves player Mitchell Antonio for 10 games over a “careless tackle” on East Perth footballer Beau Chatley.
Chatley landed awkwardly on his head, suffering a spinal injury and later undergoing surgery in Royal Perth Hospital.
The incident happened late in the second quarter of Saturday’s WAFL Reserves match at Leederville Oval.
The Falcons released a statement from the Antonio family this afternoon, saying “Mitchell has decided to accept the WAFL tribunal’s decision out of respect for Beau and the Chatley family”.
“The Antonios have been deeply appreciative of the support they have received from West Perth, teammates, friends and family, and the broader football industry,” the statement said.
“Mitchell’s concerns have always and will always be on Beau’s recovery and whilst we believe the judgement was harsh in the context of the incident, there was never an intent to injure or hurt Beau.
“The weeks (suspended) pale into insignificance for the time that is going be required for Beau’s recovery.
“Finishing the official matters today for Mitchell, allows the people around him to commence providing the ongoing support he will require in the days, weeks and years ahead.”
Antonio, who pleaded not guilty, was referred to the WAFL tribunal on Tuesday night, which found him “guilty of rough conduct for a careless tackle that resulted in high contact with severe impact”.
The length of the suspension was widely criticised.
WAFL players voiced disapproval of the decision on Tuesday night, with Swan Districts player Freddie Clutterbuck tweeting “way to make a horrible, horrible situation worse”.
His teammate Jake Nuich replied saying “just when Antonio couldn’t feel any worse. Freak accident doesn’t deserve that”.