IPSWICH Eagles AFL player Damien Brereton pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm after he broke a man's jaw in a one-punch incident during a game.
The crown prosecutor told Ipswich District Court yesterday Brereton, 33, had hit rival player Daniel Ling, 22, during a match against Griffith Moorooka Roosters in 2012.
The two men were involved in a tackle and exchanged words before the situation escalated and Brereton threw the punch which hit Mr Ling in the face.
It fractured Mr Ling's jaw in two places. In a victim impact statement read in court, Mr Ling said he had undergone surgery to have two titanium plates screwed in both sides of his jaw. As he recovered from the injury Mr Ling said he was unable to work, socialise with friends, drive a car, chew solid foods or play AFL. He described it as "the worst time of his life".
Defence lawyer Peter Sloane said Brereton was remorseful.
He said Brereton, an IGA store manager, had been playing football all his life with no black marks on his record before this incident.
During sentencing, Brereton publicly apologised to Mr Ling who was also present at court.
"I'm 100% truly sorry for what happened," he told Mr Ling.
Brereton said he had an "out of character" moment.
Judge Greg Koppenol said Brereton had no justification.
"The court understands that during football matches, players can sometimes lose their cool," he said.
"But you lost your temper and went completely over the top."
Brereton was convicted and sentenced to 12 months in prison. The sentence was suspended for two years. He was ordered to pay $3500 compensation.