CARLTON'S Chris Yarran has been suspended for three matches after he was found guilty of intentionally striking Essendon's Paul Chapman in the first Tribunal hearing for the 2015 season.

Yarran's case was sent straight to the Tribunal by the Match Review Panel after being graded intentional conduct, high impact and high contact. The Blues' half-back pleaded guilty at the start of the hearing at AFL House and received a one-match discount as a result from the jury of Wayne Henwood, Richard Loveridge and new member Daniel Harford.

He will miss the Blues' Anzac Day clash against St Kilda in Wellington, as well as matches against Collingwood and the Brisbane Lions.

Yarran claimed there were exceptional and compelling circumstances, arguing Chapman had motioned to headbutt him and elbowed him in the ribs.

"That's when I thought I'd stand up for myself," Yarran told the Tribunal.

The jury took 11 minutes to deliberate before announcing the three-match sanction, which equated to one-match more than he would have faced if the strike had been deemed medium impact by the MRP.

Carlton football manager Andrew McKay and Yarran both thanked the Tribunal for a fair hearing as they left AFL House.

"It wasn't my intention to hurt Paul, who I respect enormously, and I'm very sorry for it," Yarran said. "I'd like to apologise to the Carlton supporters and I look forward to getting out in three weeks' time with my teammates and hopefully getting a few wins on the board."

Chapman was called to give evidence via phone link in response to Yarran's claims of provocation, but the veteran Bomber said he didn't recall head-butting his opponent.

"There was no headbutt thrown by me, if there was head contact it wasn't intentional," Chapman said. "I've just watched the video and I saw nothing that was even close to head contact.

"You don't expect to cop a punch in the head like that."

Yarran has not previously been suspended in 108 games for Carlton, and his legal counsel Marcus Clarke said he should be eligible for a discount based on his clean record. Players are no longer granted a discount by the MRP for good records, but the Tribunal has discretion to consider this in its final penalty.

AFL legal counsel Jeff Gleeson QC, who recommended a base penalty of four or five matches, said Yarran had shown remorse and apologised to Chapman and should be granted a discount. However, he disputed there were exceptional and compelling circumstances in the grappling between the two players that led to Yarran's strike.

"There's a great disconnect between the response and what he thought [Chapman] was doing," Gleeson told the Tribunal.

"It landed about where it was intended to land … and Mr Yarran hasn't said otherwise. "Mr Yarran is balanced and squared so he could deliver the blow with some force."