A QUICK NIP: Tory Dickson describes what he felt when Conor McKenna bit him
THE RIGHT SPIRIT: Tadhg Kennelly gives McKenna a character reference
STRAIGHT TO MESSAGE BANK: Another character reference call rings out

ESSENDON defender Conor McKenna has been suspended for three weeks after pleading guilty to biting Western Bulldogs forward Tory Dickson.

McKenna was charged with serious misconduct and referred directly to the AFL Tribunal following an incident during the second quarter of Essendon's loss to the Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

McKenna entered a guilty plea at the start of Tuesday night's Tribunal hearing at Etihad Stadium before David Jones (chairman) and jury members Stewart Loewe, Michael Jamison and Wayne Henwood.

The Irishman was remorseful when he spoke with reporters after the hearing.

"I take responsibility for my actions. I'm very sorry for what I've done and am looking forward to moving on and getting on with the season," McKenna said.

McKenna will miss Essendon's upcoming games against Port Adelaide, Collingwood and Melbourne.

WATCH: McKenna tangles with Dickson

The Bulldogs' medical report, which was tabled by Jeff Gleeson QC for the AFL, stated

Dickson had suffered a red mark on his neck, but no penetration of the skin or bleeding, and required no medical treatment.

Dickson arrived for the start of the Tribunal hearing accompanied by Bulldogs official Ben Graham, but the pair left shortly afterwards when informed McKenna would be pleading guilty after pre-hearing discussions between Gleeson and McKenna's legal representative, Adrian Anderson.

A statement by Dickson to AFL integrity officer Kerry Gassner was read to the Tribunal, in which the Bulldog said he had felt "a quick nip" on his neck during a scuffle with McKenna.

Dickson said he immediately felt he had been bitten, but stressed the impact had been minor, while he had come from the ground immediately after the incident due to a scheduled rotation and not the bite.

Most of the 90-minute hearing was spent hearing submissions on the appropriate penalty for McKenna.

Anderson, the AFL's former football operations manager, argued a two-match suspension was appropriate, relying on the precedent of West Coast Chris Masten's two-week suspension for biting Fremantle's Nick Suban in 2015.

Anderson referred to the medical report in that case which stated Masten had bitten Suban's left forearm, piercing the skin and forcing the Docker to take antibiotics for five days.

However, Tribunal chairman David Jones noted McKenna's bite had been to Dickson's neck, which had involved greater potential for serious injury and infection.

Former Sydney Swan Tadhg Kennelly gave character evidence for McKenna via conference call, saying he had known the Bomber for five years and had always known him to play football in the right spirit.

Vic Metro coach Marty Allison, with whose family McKenna lived when he came to Australia, was also meant to give a character reference, but could not be contacted.