Tarryn Thomas in action during North Melbourne's clash against Melbourne in round 21, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

NORTH Melbourne has sacked Tarryn Thomas after he was suspended by the AFL for 18 matches, with the League finding him guilty of inappropriate behaviour towards a woman.

Thomas will be unable to participate in football matches at any level while he serves the suspension, which was handed down by the AFL on Thursday afternoon.

Subsequently, the Kangaroos informed Thomas - who was contracted until the end of this season - he would no longer be a North Melbourne player. 

The AFL investigation found Thomas had "engaged in multiple acts of misconduct including threatening a woman via direct messages multiple times", and was thus guilty of several breaches of the AFL's conduct unbecoming rules.

North's footy boss Todd Viney said the club had no regrets about the way they'd handled Thomas.

"I can't read Tarryn’s mind, but from my point of view, there's two Tarryns. There's the one we see day-to-day and there's the one who when he's in a relationship, he has some troubles in dealing with relationship issues," Viney said.

"Hand on heart, I can put my head on the pillow and think we as a club have supported our player. He's one of us, we took him as a 17-year-old, we know he had a challenging upbringing and background. And hand on heart, we thought we could help educate him, put him in contact with some of the best people in the state around respect and responsibility, social media and the like.

"We just didn't get the result. Would we do anything different? No, we'd support our people and give them the opportunity to learn and get better."


Viney said North Melbourne do not yet have any clarity as to how Thomas would move to another club for next season, should a team wish to recruit him, and that it would be worked out in the course of finalising the end of his contract.

"We've just come to the conclusion that he won't be part of the playing future, so we'll work with his manager and Tarryn as to how that finishes up," Viney said.

"Every AFL club will make their own call. We tried our best and couldn't get it done, so we'll leave it up to each club to make their own decision.

"It'd be a shame if he didn't play football again."

Roos' CEO Jennifer Watt said the decision was made based on the recent finding and Thomas' prior indiscretions.

"The club has provided Tarryn with significant time, resources and support but we've now arrived at a point where the individual's needs don't match those of the club," Watt said.

"We know Tarryn needs help – for himself and for the women in his life – but it's clear the path we've taken over the past 12 months hasn't had the desired impact.

"To that end, we have made the decision to end Tarryn's time at North Melbourne.

"This decision doesn't come lightly or easily. We brought Tarryn to the club as a teenager and we acknowledge that he has faced complex and challenging circumstances over his life.

"We hope Tarryn will find the support that is right for him and that he does the work required to be the best version of himself."

Tarryn Thomas in action during round 23, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

North Melbourne president Dr Sonja Hood said she was frustrated, angry, disappointed and sad at the outcome and stressed that it was not an easy decision. 

"Tarryn came back to the club midway through last year pledging to be better," she said in a letter to members.

"We are all bitterly disappointed that he has relapsed. And he is now out of chances.

"Last year he was afforded the privilege of doing his intensive education and rehabilitation programs within the structure of our footy club. From here he'll have to find that structure elsewhere.

"We'll continue working with the AFL, the Players Association and Tarryn's manager and his support network to ensure that he gets the help he needs to be better.

"But he won't play for the North Melbourne Football Club again.

"Out of respect for her privacy I won't say anything about the woman who brought these allegations to the AFL, other than to commend her bravery and the dignity with which she has handled herself throughout this process. She deserved better."

Tarryn Thomas at North Melbourne training in May 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

AFL general counsel Stephen Meade said Thomas' decision to send the offending messages while undertaking behavioural education program was a factor in the sanction.

"Tarryn'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," Meade said.

"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.

"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."

Tarryn Thomas in action during North Melbourne's training session at Arden Street Ground on November 17, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

Thomas' suspension ends on June 22, 2024, and his sacking means he will not be able to play at all during the 2024 Toyota AFL Premiership Season.

Thomas must also undergo an AFL-approved behavioural change program - at his own cost - before he can play football again at any level.

The 23-year-old had been training away from the footy club since the latest allegations came to hand.

Thomas was interviewed by the League's Integrity Unit last month following the allegation, and was previously stood down twice by the Kangaroos in 2023 amid concerns about his behaviour towards women.

Thomas escaped criminal conviction last July for threatening to distribute intimate videos of his former partner. He was initially charged with threatening to distribute an intimate image of another person, but this was downgraded by prosecutors to using a carriage service to harass someone.

He was granted a diversion, which meant he escaped a criminal conviction, and was ordered to pay $1000 to charity.

He was put through a respect and responsibility education program and spent three weeks in the VFL last year before later earning a senior recall in round 12, ultimately playing 12 AFL games.

The midfielder, drafted at pick No.8 in the 2018 AFL Draft, played 69 games and kicked 56 goals in a career interrupted by injuries and off-field issues since his 2019 debut.