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Thomas set to cop big suspension over inappropriate behaviour, according to reports

Andrew Mathieson -

The AFL appears set to suspend Tarryn Thomas from playing for 18 weeks, which could end the Lumaranatana and Kamilaroi man's playing career at North Melbourne.

The proposed hefty ban follows an investigation into allegations the midfielder behaved inappropriately towards another woman, after multiple incidents last year.

The AFL's integrity unit spoke to Thomas about the latest allegations during a two-hour meeting on January 29.

Thomas and the club initially delayed his involvement in the probe by more than a week after legal representation was unavailable soon after being asked to appear at AFL headquarters, but the investigation began more than a week earlier when the woman formally aired her grievances.

It is understood she approached the AFL separately before heading to the Docklands headquarters later to give evidence.

The AFL insisted in a brief statement on Monday that no penalty has been handed down yet.

"The investigation is ongoing," an AFL spokesperson told media.

Nine media reporter Tom Morris first reported the potential suspension via Twitter, believing the last hindrance concerns notifying Thomas and his manager, and also the football club, before formally confirming the ban.

The AFL Commission is said to be willing to make an example of Thomas to prove it is serious about players cleaning up their off-field behaviour by handing out substantial suspensions for compromising the game's reputation.

The length of the suspension would see the 23-year-old sit out most of the 24-week AFL home-and-away season in the last year of his contract.

Essendon did approach North Melbourne at the end of last season to make a play for a trade for Thomas, but this latest preseason investigation would make it difficult to find similar suitors.

Thomas has not been back to North Melbourne training since the AFL informed the club more than a month ago that he was required to attend an interview regarding the woman's allegations.

North Melbourne football manager Todd Viney told Nine amid a separate report that the club was unaware of where the investigation was but would not be railroaded into deciding Thomas's long-term future just yet.

"In reality, because we have not had the information about what has happened with this investigation, we will take our time to have a look at that and see what the AFL have found and then have some time to think about our next position," he said.

The club has stood down Thomas on three separate occasions over the past 12 months including the most recent incident in the new year over serious and confronting threats to a woman.

It comes after the Next Generation Academy recruit from North Launceston, who was the 2018 No.8 draft pick, had attended a Melbourne Magistrates court for threatening to distribute an intimate image of his ex-partner.

Police were willing to drop that charge after Thomas agreed to pay $1000 to charity.

The club's senior officials requested he undergo a respect and responsibility education program following one of his earlier bans to learn how to change his behaviour towards women.

He also was at the centre of controversy during his first internal club suspension after posting on social media a dangerous driving incident while steering the wheel at night with his feet emerged online, only for the video to be pulled down quickly.

Last week Thomas hinted that he no longer was associating with the Kangaroos after deleting all references of North Melbourne Football Club from his bios on Instagram and Twitter in addition to unfollowing the club and deleting images from his past three years.


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