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North moving on without Thomas after practice match victory over premiers

Andrew Mathieson -

North Melbourne is still waiting to hear what penalty Tarryn Thomas will cop, but is no longer counting the midfielder in game-day planning this season.

Thomas has been tipped to face an 18-week suspension.

AFL chief executive Andrew Dillon said the two months behind the investigation insists the allegations are taken "really seriously", but nothing has been decided and ultimately the punishment will come from advice of its general counsel Stephen Meade.

The AFL commission is evidently pushing for a near-season long suspension over a list of alleged incidents involving domestic violence, but Thomas is yet to face police charges after a number of women filed complaints to the game's Docklands front office.

He has fronted court over not only multiple driving charges, but also for a threat to distribute an intimate video of a former partner, which the offence was later downgraded to offer a $1000 fine to escape a conviction.

"It's a complicated issue and we continue to work through that, but I do not have an update at this stage," Dillon told

"Any decision related to a sanction or otherwise for Tarryn Thomas will be a decision taken by the general counsel of the AFL.

"The AFL commission will be updated and made aware of it, but it's a decision for the general counsel Stephen Meade.

"It's a complicated issue with potentially quite severe consequences and we've also got a complainant there and we're mindful of their welfare."

That response came after reliable sources apparently informed Nine media reporter Tom Morris the length of the soon-to-be-announced suspension would be 18 weeks.

The Lumaranatana and Kamilaroi man was banned from training with his teammates for a third time after the AFL called on Thomas in January to attend an interview with the AFL's independent integrity unit for its ongoing investigation.

The proposed penalty could ensure Thomas has played his last game for the Shinboners given the 23-year-old is serving out his final year of a lucrative contract, estimated to be worth around $700,000 a season.

The football department that started out the new year feeling optimistic, considering the end to Thomas's final – and only – dozen appearances of last year proved to be brilliant, has largely moved on from the one-time Tasmanian recruit playing this year if not next.

The Kangas scored a surprise 34-point practice match win against an undermanned Collingwood on Wednesday without the slick skills of Thomas on hand.

The coaching staff has taken their minds off Thomas, leaving his future playing status in the hands of club chief executive Jennifer Watt and football manager Todd Viney.

"Right now, we can only focus on the players that are there," North assistant coach Jed Adcock said at a club press conference after the win.

"There are people at the club that are looking after (Thomas).

"We can only look after the (remaining) players that are at the club still. If we start taking our energy away from those guys, it is unfair to them."

North Melbourne have remained at arm's length from the AFL over the outcome of the investigation, but is already bracing to hear a lengthy suspension handed out to Thomas.

Kangaroos teammate George Wardlaw admitted the players have been left in the dark about the details of the AFL's probe into the elusive First Nations talent.

Wardlaw, the 2022 No.4 draft pick, said the tight playing group remains in the dark about the allegations against Thomas after having no contact with him under conditions imposed by the club.

"It is a tricky one with Tarryn," he said.

"Obviously, the players, and also North Melbourne (as a whole), don't know as much as we would like about it.

"It is pretty hard to comment on and we are just hoping that all parties are happy and okay."


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