Brett Wortman

Prop opens up on his long ban

BRIBIE Island Sea Eagles front-rower Mitch McMahon has spoken publicly for the first time since he received a lengthy suspension for striking former NRL star Noel Goldthorpe in a trial game.

Mr McMahon, 21, punched the former New South Wales State of Origin representative in a Sunshine Coast Gympie Rugby League pre-season match against the Noosa Pirates at Gympie in March. He was suspended for eight months, but that was controversially reduced to 12 weeks on appeal.

While he was sidelined, Mr McMahon became more determined than ever to pursue his rugby league dreams.

"I just put it all behind me, just focussed on my footy and trained the house down," he said. "I'm hoping to play NRL one day."

After making his comeback early last month, Mr McMahon has been a strong player for Bribie, which will play Kawana in the local A-grade grand final at Bokarina tonight.

Mr McMahon said he had received criticism from some fans and players.

"I've had a couple of people say some things but that doesn't faze me because I'm not there to worry about anything besides football," he said.

Mr McMahon also was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

His lawyer, Peter Boyce, said a second mention of the matter was slated to be heard in Maroochydore Magistrates Court later this month.