Newcastle Jets badboy Roy O'Donovan insists he didn't deserve his 10-game ban for the Grand Final boot to the face of Melbourne Victory keeper Laurence Thomas.
And he blasted Football Federation Australia for trying to drive him out the country...but vowed to stay and fight.
In today's Newcastle Herald, O'Donovan hits back at the hype around the late tackle which saw him sent off immediately and Thomas finish the match with his face wrapped in bandages.
“I take full responsibility for making the challenge, but I made the challenge from a good place, not with any malice or intent,” O’Donovan told The Herald.
“It is very hard to come to grips with the way that I have been portrayed. I don’t portray myself to be any sort of angel. I play the game hard, but I play the game fair. The way I have been portrayed is hysterical, ridiculous and totally out of context to what actually happened."
"I never saw the goalkeeper until the last moment," he said. "I couldn’t change my body shape or halt momentum. I was too far gone at that moment.
"I apologised to Lawrence Thomas afterwards. He is a good bloke and I didn’t mean for that to happen. He was great about it."
He added: "If the ball is in the air and we need to score a goal to win a football game, damn right I am going to try and score a goal."
And he is convinced he has been made a scapegoat and judged by lawyers instead of professional players.
“I am getting prosecuted by solicitors who have never played the game and people who, maybe at one stage, were semi-professional players, and they are giving their opinion,” he said.
“To say it was worse than Kevin Muscat, who did hurt somebody and ended his career. The Melbourne Victory (assistant) coaches go on the pitch and assault a player and get four games...what world are we living in?
“I made a challenge on the pitch for a football – I did mistime it – but to get 10 games is ridiculous and an indictment on football in Australia.
"Everyone can see it for what it is, and have said it is a very, very harsh suspension. It was double, maybe triple, the suspension it should have been."
O'Donovan, 32, says he was suffering from blurred vision after an earlier clash with Bes Berisha had fractured his eye socket which also contributed to the collision with Thomas.
And he added: "I think they are trying to make me walk away from it.
“The problem they have is that I am too stubborn. If they had given me four games and said, ‘We’d rather you not play in the A-League’, I probably would have took it.
"The fact that they are trying to test my resolve, my resilience...they are testing the wrong man.
“You are playing high-level sport, it’s the last minute of a Grand Final and you are trying to score a goal. Accidents happen, they happen all over the world.
"I feel like the process around the suspension and the appeal; having to speak to judges who have never kicked a football in their life, that is where the frustration lies.
"You feel powerless.”