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Brereton out for 6 matches

MELBOURNE: Hawthorn ccntrc half forward Dcrmolt Brcrelon was suspended for six matches last night by

the VFLTribunal.

Brcrcton, 23, rated the best half for ward in Australia, was ousted for strik ing St Kilda captain Danny Frawley in Saturday's game at the MCG.

The penalty stunned Hawthorn offi cials, who accompanied Brereton to the 70-minute hearing, and equalled a similar suspension handed out earlier . in the night to Melbourne's Ted Fidge, who pleaded guilty to striking Darren Millane, ofCollingwood.

The two other players, David Cloke, of Collingwood, and Andrew Brock hurst, of Fitzroy, were cleared of strik ing.

After the evidence was heard in Brereton's case, he changed his not guilty plea to one of guilty under prov

ocation.

Brereton said any contact with Frawley was an instinctive reaction after receiving a blow to the back of the

head.

Frawley, who was knocked uncon scious in the third-quarter incident, said he had no recollection of anything that happened after halftime. He told the tribunal he did not know whether he had hit Brereton.

But Brereton's teammate, Russell Greene, read a statutory declaration saying he had seen Frawley punch Brereton to the back of the head.

Goal umpire Greg MacDonald, who was the only official to file a report against Brereton, said that five min utes before the incident for which Brereton was charged he had noticed Frawley and Brereton niggling each other deep in a forward pocket.

"Frawley was playing very close to Brereton," McDonald said. "Brereton to my mind was frustrated and was pushing Frawley away.

"I kept my eye on them for the next few minutes to see if there was any

thing between them and saw them pushing and shoving and called out a warning, but 1 don't know if they heard

me.

"When I next looked back I saw Brcreton's fist crash into Frawley's facc with considerable force. The blow lifted Frawley off his feet and he fell flat on his back and did not move."

He said Brereton then turned and ran off and he was unable to notify the Hawthorn players of the report until

three-quarter time.

Frawley said he was under instruc tions to play close to opponent and said he had been holding on to Brcre ton's jumper during the game.

Brereton said he was being retarded and had only swung his arm out to free

himself.

"It was not malicious," he said. "I had received a heavy blow to the back of the head which threw me off bal ance. I am not going to be intimidated

like that."

Brereton, who joined the Hawthorn under-19s in 1980, had played 121 se nior games by the age or 20, was Haw thorn's youngest club champion, was an All Australian in 1985 and had represented Victoria six times.

Brereton will now miss games against Essendon, Brisbane Bears (twice), Geelong, Footscray and the Sydney Swans.

He will also be ineligible for the State of Origin game against Western Australia in Perth on July 5. He will not resume until July 23 against Mel

bourne.

St Kilda's chief executive Keith Marshall said it had not been fair that Hawthorn had brought evidence against Frawley when St Kilda had not

been told about it.

"We deny what happened and can produce witnesses and evidence that Frawley did not hit Brereton," Mar

shall said outside the tribunal. "It is a slight on him."

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