MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 25: Sherrin footballs are placed to be collected by Kangaroos players during a North Melbourne Kangaroos training session at the Arden Street Ground on March 25, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)

Suburban footballer’s 36-game ban slashed

A suburban footballer who was given a 36-game ban after viciously breaking an opponent’s jaw, has remarkably had his suspension reduced to just nine games on appeal.

Former VFL player and Essendon Doutta Stars player, Simon Clarke, had his jaw broken in three places and appears unlikely to play football again, after Keilor’s Leigh Burke struck Clarke from behind during a match on August 6.

Clarke was struck while he was attempting to break up a scuffle between two players.

Burke initially received a 36-game suspension, however, after appealing the sanction has received a 27-game reduction on his penalty.

It is understood little new evidence was brought to the hearing on Monday night, however, Burke maintained throughout the process that he did not intentionally strike Clarke.

Burke has now been suspended for 15 matches throughout his career following his nine game ban, after previously accumulating nine weeks worth of suspensions.

The AFL’s National Deregistration Policy rules state that a player who has received 16 weeks of suspension over the course of their careers will be deregistered.