Phoenix penalise sent off players

WELLINGTON beat Football Federation Australia to the punch yesterday when they fined the three Phoenix players sent off in the violence-marred friendly against the Newcastle Jets.

FFA’s match review panel will convene this morning to determine what further action, if any, will be taken after an all-in brawl that cleared both benches in the Jets’ 3-1 win at Weston on Saturday night.

Phoenix pair Manny Muscat and Ben Sigmund, and Jets Brazilian defender Tiago were given red cards for their involvement in the ugly incident.

Wellington captain Andrew Durante, who had several run-ins with Jets players, was given his marching orders midway through the second half after he took exception to a Scott Neville tackle and lashed out with his boot.

The four are expected to be outed for at least two games for the red cards.

Wellington left on Sunday for a four-game tour of India, but the club confirmed last night that they had fined the three players dismissed and, depending on sanctions handed out by the FFA, would stand them down for matches on tour.

“It is totally unacceptable and we took action immediately following the match,” Phoenix general manager David Dome said in a statement.

“Coach Ricki Herbert was unequivocal that incidents of this type will not be accepted by any player regardless of their seniority in the team.”

The Jets declined to comment until FFA had completed a review of the match.

Two-time championship winning coach Ange Postecoglou yesterday condemned the actions of both clubs.

‘‘It doesn’t reflect well, that’s for sure,’’ Postecoglou said in Hobart where his new club Melbourne Victory play a trial tonight.

‘‘I saw some vision of it and I don’t really understand it.

‘‘I think players and coaches and everyone involved should probably understand this is pre-season.’’

The former Brisbane Roar coach said ill-discipline would not be tolerated at the Victory.

‘‘I’d be disappointed if it was my team doing that,’’ he said.

FFA received video footage of the game yesterday.

Of most scrutiny will be the melee which broke out in the 25th minute.

Tiago and Muscat clashed heavily for a 50-50 ball in front of the Jets dugout.

Muscat responded angrily and television footage shows him jumping on the Jets defender and striking him.

His actions sparked wild scenes.

Sigmund ran in to join the melee and ran into the back of Jobe Wheelhouse.

His forearm appeared to make contact with the Jets captain’s head.

After getting to his feet, Tiago appeared to throw punches at Muscat near the touchline.

The majority of the Jets senior players are on a week’s break and Tiago returned to Brazil on Sunday to tend to personal matters.

The incident has the potential to throw both club’s pre-season preparations into chaos.

The Jets have four sanctioned trials remaining – against Brisbane Roar in Tamworth on Saturday September 1, Sydney FC at Leichhardt Oval (September 9), Western Sydney Wanderers at Wanderers Oval Broadmeadow (September 15) and Sydney FC for a second time at Budgewoi Oval (September 22).

Any suspension beyond that would carry over to the A-League.

Jets coach Gary van Egmond had also flagged a short tour of Asia but that has been scrapped.

? The Jets have imposed a two-week ban on youth team fullback Andrew Hoole after an off-field incident in which he dislocated his shoulder.

The Herald understands Hoole was involved in an incident on a night out with friends late last week.

Jets chief executive Robbie Middleby described the incident as ‘‘minor’’ but unacceptable.

Hoole, last season’s youth team player of the year, played in the 2-1 loss to Broadmeadow Magic in a catch-up game on Tuesday night.

The club invoked the suspension on Saturday but the injury would have kept him out of the qualifying semi-final against Magic on Sunday which they lost 3-2.

The Jets meet Edgeworth in a sudden-death minor semi-final at Jack McLaughlan Oval this Saturday.

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