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Tarryn Thomas blows final chance, cops 18-week AFL suspension for "multiple acts of misconduct"

Giovanni Torre -

The AFL announced on Thursday that North Melbourne player Tarryn Thomas has been found guilty of several breaches of the AFL Rule 2.3(a) (Conduct Unbecoming).

Thomas has been suspended for 18 AFL matches and has been suspended from participating in any other football competition at any level until 22 July 2024, the League said in a statement.

As a result of this finding, Thomas will no longer be a North Melbourne player and will not be eligible to play at all in the 2024 Toyota AFL Premiership Season.

The AFL said that before returning to football at any level, Thomas must have undertaken and/or be satisfactorily progressing with a behavioural change program.

In respect of the behavioural change program: The behavioural change program needs to be approved in advance by the AFL;Thomas and / or the provider of the behavioural change program will need to report to the AFL on the adherence and progress with the program.

"Thomas will personally bear the cost of the behavioural change program," the League noted in a statement.

After being alerted by a complaint through the AFL portal in late January, Thomas was interviewed by AFLIU investigators on 29 January 2024.

It was ultimately determined by the AFL that Thomas had engaged in multiple acts of misconduct including threatening a woman via direct messages multiple times.

In determining the sanction, the AFL said it took into account the evidence over a period of time which included Thomas engaging in misconduct while he was undertaking education in 2023 to deal with similar behaviours from earlier that year.

AFL General Counsel Stephen Meade said Thomas's conduct "does not represent behaviours acceptable to anyone in our game or our community and his actions were not of a standard that the game or the public expect".

"While we understand and are empathetic to the challenges Tarryn was facing in his personal life, there is no excuse for the behaviour or the hurt he caused a young woman, this is never okay," he said.

"The fact that Tarryn chose to engage in behaviour over direct messages that was, and is, clearly inappropriate, even while he was undertaking education and being counselled for previous breaches contributed to the length of suspension imposed."

The League said the matter was "triaged through the AFL's Respect and Responsibility policy" and that they continue "to provide wellbeing support for those involved".

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