Shock outcome of sickening footy punch
Former NRL star Pat Politoni has only copped a three-game suspension after pleading guilty for a shocking punch that knocked out an opponent in Queensland's Intrust Super Cup on the weekend.
The former Cronulla, Gold Coast and Wests Tigers hooker sparked an all-in melee playing for Burleigh Bears against the Townsville Blackhawks when he landed a brutal right hand on the chin of Michael Parker-Walshe.
Parker-Walshe dropped to the ground immediately after Politoni's haymaker while players from both sides rushed together as tensions threatened to explode.
Fronting the judiciary on Wednesday night Politoni was facing a possible eight-game ban for the king hit but had that penalty reduced to just three matches because of his early guilty plea and previous good record.
Also taken into account was Politoni missed the last 41 minutes of the game after he was sent off for his violent act.
Politoni's suspension came after Parker-Walshe made the brutally honest admission he contributed to getting floored by provoking Politoni and being a "smart a**e".
The incident happened as the referee sent Politoni to the sin bin for a professional foul. Burleigh had given away a penalty for an infringement in the ruck and when a Blackhawks player went for a quick tap, Politoni tried to tackle him and prevent Townsville from scooting away downfield.
Pat Politoni getting just a 3 match #IntrustSuperCup suspension for knocking a guy out cold is pretty unfathomable. Previous good record is one thing but it doesn’t excuse current poor behaviour.— Mark Gottlieb (@MarkGottliebFOX) 3 April 2019
Parker-Walshe came in behind Politoni and patted him on the head, taunting him for letting his team down. That's when Politoni turned and punched the playmaker.
Even though he was the victim, Parker-Walshe accepted responsibility for his part in the episode.
"It was probably a bit of a d***head move on my part," Parker-Walshe told the Townsville Bulletin.
"To be completely honest I have watched the incident and I was being a bit of a smart a**e.
"We play a contact sport, and in the heat of the moment, that was his reaction. If we all had our time again, I wouldn't have patted him on the head.
"I wear the No. 7 and I niggle with the best of them. That has probably been coming for a few years."
Parker-Walshe also said he spoke to Politoni after the game and the former NRL player showed remorse for his actions.
Before Politoni's suspension was announced, Burleigh coach Jimmy Lenihan had expressed his disappointment with his hooker.
"There is no real excuse for it, at the end of the day it has cost us the game. It is definitely disappointing," Lenihan told the Townsville Bulletin.
"We had a bit of a chat to Michael after the game and I know Pat apologised to him. But this is certainly not a good look."
Townsville won the match 16-10.