Tiago suspended for four matches

BRAZILIAN Tiago will not play another pre-season game after the Jets defender was suspended yesterday for four matches for his role in an ugly brawl in an A-League friendly against Wellington Phoenix.

Tiago and Phoenix trio Manny Muscat, Ben Sigmund and Andrew Durante were give red cards in the Jets’ 3-1 victory in Weston on Saturday night.

Muscat, whose reaction to a challenge from Tiago sparked the melee in the 23rd minute, was also outed for four weeks. Sigmund received three weeks for his involvement.

Durante, a former Jet, received a two-week ban after he took exception to a Scott Neville tackle and lashed out with his boot midway through the second half. Phoenix players were also fined by the club

An independent Match Review Panel, consisiting of Simon Micallef, Alan Davidson and Alan Contini found, all four guilty of assault on a player while not challenging for the ball after viewing extensive footage of the match yesterday.

However, they determined that no one else had a case to answer despite nearly all players from both sides and coaching staff being involved in the fracas.

Former Melbourne Victory captain Kevin Muscat holds the record for the biggest A-League suspension when rubbed out for eight weeks for a tackle on Melbourne Heart youngster Adrian Zahra in 2011.

New A-League chief Damien de Bohun, who started in the role yesterday, expressed his disappointment at the incident, which was televised on news bulletins across the nation.

“This kind of unprofessional and unsportsmanlike behaviour has no place in our game,” de Bohun said in a media statement.

“Having been involved in football for a long time it is very disappointing to witness the on-field incident that occurred on Saturday as it detracts from our sport – a sport built on speed, skill and flair.’’

Tiago will sit out the Jets’ four sanctioned trials 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).

Phoenix players will serve their suspensions during a four-game tour of India which begins tonight.

In a statement on the club website, Jets chief executive Robbie Middleby indicated the club would not appeal against the decision.

‘‘As a club we don’t condone any form of retaliation or violent behaviour. The Newcastle Jets is a club that prides itself on creating a family-friendly atmosphere for its members and supporters,’’ the statement said.

Jets coach Gary van Egmond was not available for comment.

Tiago flew to Rio de Janiero on Sunday to visit wife Paola, and children Julia, 4, and Jean Pedro, eights months, who are awaiting visas so they can return to Newcastle, and is not due back until next week.

The 31-year-old was expected to partner Josh Mitchell in the heart of the Jets defence for the A-League opener against Adelaide United at Hunter Stadium on October 7.

However, the door has now been opened for Taylor Regan, Connor Chapman and Dominik Ritter to press their claims.

A Dudley junior, Regan started in 14 of his 20 games last season and was awarded the inaugural Ray Baartz Medal as the Men of Football’s Jets player of the year despite falling out of favour late in the campaign.

Chapman, 17, goes in to camp with the Australian under-20s this week ahead of a tournament in Vietnam and does not return until September 10.

Swiss import Ritter has been locked in a battle with Craig Goodwin for the left back spot but also has experience as a left stopper.

The majority of the Jets senior players are on a week break. They resume training on Monday.

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