MELBOURNE midfielder Jack Viney has been suspended for two matches for serious misconduct after disputing the allegation that he made forceful contact to Gold Coast defender Sam Collins' neck region during Saturday's clash at Marvel Stadium.
Viney, who withdrew his guilty plea for the AFL's allegation halfway through a lengthy Tribunal hearing on Tuesday night, will miss next Monday night's clash against West Coast at Optus Stadium and the round 22 match against Adelaide.
The midfielder initially pleaded guilty to what he conceded was a bad look for the game but insisted he had made contact predominantly to Collins' jaw when the pair grappled late in the fourth quarter of Saturday's clash.
The jury of Paul Williams, Wayne Henwood and Shane Wakelin dismissed that evidence, however, and found him guilty of the charge put forward by the AFL.
Viney, who appeared via video from Perth for the hearing and was represented by former AFL football operations boss Adrian Anderson, opened by saying he understood the incident "isn't a great look for the sport and I accept my responsibility in escalating the situation."
The Demons then mounted a case that his actions were in response to Collins instigating a wrestle and were not a show of force, as alleged by AFL counsel Jeff Gleeson.
"It was more a show of defence. I didn't want to get rolled over and him be on top of me," Viney told the Tribunal, disputing that his actions were unsportsmanlike.
"That was the position I was pulled into."
Gleeson said the jury should dismiss the evidence that Viney was acting in defence as "nonsense". He said the evidence that Viney had made contact to Collins' jaw was "flatly inconsistent with what he knew he did".
Asked what the pair had said to each other during the wrestle, Viney said Collins had challenged the midfielder to hit him, to which he said he replied: "don't try me".
Anderson used misconduct and serious misconduct precedents involving Hawks defenders James Sicily and Ben Stratton, Port Adelaide forward Charlie Dixon and former Carlton, Sydney and Greater Western Sydney player Jed Lamb to argue for a penalty ranging between a fine and a one-week suspension.
He argued that Viney deserved credit for giving evidence and pleading guilty to serious misconduct, regardless of the dispute around where force was applied.
The former AFL football boss said the Suns' medical report, which showed Collins suffered no damage, should convince the jury that any contact to the neck/throat region was not forceful or prolonged, but glancing.
Collins was not called on to give evidence, with the jury left to decide on the point of contact using the several camera angles and Viney's own evidence.