Former Gaelic footballer suspended for three weeks over bite in Aussie Rules game

By Stephen Barry

Aussie Rules player Conor McKenna has been suspended for three weeks for biting an opponent.

The former Tyrone footballer, now with Essendon, pled guilty to the serious misconduct charge at an AFL Tribunal.

McKenna apologised for his actions, which caused a red mark on the neck of Western Bulldogs forward Tory Dickson, but did not penetrate the skin or cause bleeding.

Dickson didn't require medical treatment and described the bite as "a quick nip".

"I take responsibility for my actions. I'm very sorry for what I've done and am looking forward to moving on and getting on with the season," McKenna told reporters after the hearing.

Former Sydney Swans and Kerry footballer Tadhg Kennelly was one of two character references for McKenna, who he described as an absolute superstar in Ireland.

Kennelly added that over the five years he'd known McKenna, he'd always played the game the right way, was very grounded and the biting incident was out of character. He was in disbelief and shocked when he heard the charge against McKenna.

After a 90-minute hearing, the jury of three former professionals chose to suspend the 22-year-old for three weeks, halfway between the two-to-four-week window of penalties directed by the Tribunal chairman David Jones.

McKenna signed a new four-year deal with Essendon last September and has played in all three games since the start of the new season.

He will now miss their upcoming games against Port Adelaide, Collingwood and Melbourne.

You can read a live blog of the AFL Tribunal hearing on

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