Zeuner says sorry after 10-week footy ban

Border Districts defender Jay Zeuner is currently serving a 10-week suspension from the KNTFL after an incident against Keith on June 14.
Border Districts defender Jay Zeuner is currently serving a 10-week suspension from the KNTFL after an incident against Keith on June 14.

JAY Zeuner plays football tough - and he makes no apologies for that.

But he certainly regrets the series of events that saw him suspended by the KNTFL tribunal for 10 weeks last Wednesday night. (Read about the tribunal hearing here)

The 30-year-old Border Districts defender is an old-style footballer, blessed with talent which has seen him spend time at SANFL clubs West Adelaide and Sturt.

He doesn't shy away from the physical side of the game - which has landed him in hot water at times over his long career.

"If people think I'm dirty, that's their opinion," Zeuner said.

"I play with my heart, I don't think I am (dirty).

"If I tackle you, I tackle you hard. If I hip and shoulder you I put my all into it...that's just the way I play, how I've always played."

But right now you could say Zeuner is in said hot water.

Reflecting on the lengthy suspension, Zeuner sought to explain his part in the incident involving Keith player Tom Redden and umpire Damien Shaw.

"The ball came in from our forward line to our backline," Zeuner recalled.

"I took a mark back near the goals on 'Snaj' (Jason Snadjar) but it was given a push in the back...he kicked a goal."

It was in the direct aftermath of this free kick and goal that Redden got involved. He and Zeuner have "history" dating back to a clash in the 2008 grand final when Zeuner was playing with Naracoorte.

"Tommy was lippy with me straight after (the free kick was paid)," Zeuner said about the most recent incident.

"He bumped me, I bumped him, 'Snaj' bumped me.

"Then we had a bit of a tussle, we swung a few."

Zeuner recalls landing a few blows before trying to get to his feet after the players had gone to ground.

"As I got up I was still being held so I kicked my leg free and pushed some people out of the way," he said.

That was when umpire Shaw got involved.

"He was one of the blokes I pushed," Zeuner said.

"I just remember him coming up and saying 'Yellow card, yellow card' and then suddenly 'Red card' and I was off."

This was in the second quarter of his side's defeat; Zeuner sat out the rest of the match and fronted up to the KNTFL tribunal last week - charged with striking, kicking and making contact with an umpire.

He pleaded guilty to striking and the contact with an umpire charge but not guilty to kicking.

"I can't remember kicking him," Zeuner said.

"It's not something I'd do...I'd never kick a bloke who was on the ground and I stand by that until the day I die."

But despite this, he was found guilty on all three counts - receiving three games for striking, three for kicking and four for contact with an umpire.

It was only the second time in his career Zeuner had been reported - after being suspended for two games in 2013 for striking.

On reflection, Zeuner does admit feelings of remorse.

"I'm sorry for what happened," he said. "I'm sorry for pushing the umpire."

He said he aimed to still stick around his club and teammates during his ban.

"I love footy, I grew up with it," he said. "I love being around the boys."

He plans to return to the game once his ban is lifted - which will be round two of next season unless Borders make the finals - with a changed approach.

Under nation-wide regulations a player who accrues 16 weeks worth of suspensions receives a life ban from all forms of the game.

Former St Kilda player Steven Baker and Barry Johncock junior, brother of former Adelaide Crow Graham, are two recent examples of this rule being invoked. Both successfully appealed their suspensions and have been allowed to continue playing.

Jay Zeuner in action (right).

Jay Zeuner in action (right).


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