NORTH Melbourne forward Lindsay Thomas has escaped with a three-match suspension at the VFL Tribunal on Tuesday night but will not be available for AFL selection until round 13.
Thomas, who has been out of favour at AFL level, pleaded guilty for a high bump on Corey Maynard in the VFL that left the Melbourne rookie unconscious and battling significant concussion.
The 29-year-old will miss five AFL rounds as a result of the suspension, with a state league match between the VFL and the WAFL, and North Melbourne's round 12 bye effectively extending his penalty by two weeks.
In an unusual move, the fixture was taken into account by Tribunal members Tim Burke (chairman), Wayne Henwood and John Russo in handing down their penalty.
The panel also took into account the contrition shown by Thomas at the time of the bump, and his early guilty plea. His charge was treated as a first offence, despite his extensive AFL record.
"I just want to say how remorseful I am on the incident on Sunday with Corey," Thomas said as he exited VFL headquarters at Ikon Park.
"I've reached out to Corey and given him my apologies and wished him a speedy recovery.
"I accept my sanction that was handed down to me and I'm just focusing on training hard and getting back into the senior team after the bye.
Thomas is contracted for 2018 but was dropped by the Kangaroos ahead of their round six clash against Gold Coast after kicking just two goals in five games.
He did not address the Tribunal on Tuesday night but pleaded guilty as charged, with the bump graded as careless conduct with severe impact to the head.
Melbourne's medical report showed Maynard would miss one to two matches, was left battling amnesia and required a CT scan to his head.
In what was described by the Tribunal as a "significant example of a high bump", Thomas came from distance and at full speed, collecting Maynard high while he had his head down taking possession.
The VFL counsel argued for Thomas to be hit with a five-match suspension, because of the risk for even more serious injury, while the North Melbourne counsel pushed for a 3-4 match ban.