Newcastle Jets striker Roy O'Donovan has been issued a two-match A-League ban for a controversial "assault" on Sydney FC defender Jordy Buijs.
Jets coach Merrick said Buijs tumbled "like a B-grade actor" when he collided with O'Donovan in the 13th minute of Saturday's clash at McDonald Jones Stadium.
It earned him a red card but the Jets went on to win 2-1 over the runaway ladder leaders.
Replays showed O'Donovan's right hand struck Buijs in the face but the Irishman denied it was an intentional action.
Buijs appeared to milk it for all it was worth, writhing around on the ground in apparent agony after the contact was made.
However, the A-League's match review panel determined O'Donovan had committed an "assault on a player", an offence which carries with it a minimum two-game sanction.
O'Donovan can refer the matter to an independent disciplinary and ethics committee to argue if 'exceptional circumstances' apply.
If successful, the 32-year-old could have his suspension reduced by one week.
If not, he will miss Newcastle's away clashes against the Wellington Phoenix on March 17 and then Adelaide United a week later.
O'Donovan has already missed a large chunk of the season due to a groin injury.
Meanwhile, the match review panel also confirmed Perth Glory goalkeeper Liam Reddy will serve the mandatory one-match suspension for his red-card tackle on Western Sydney's Jaushua Sotirio late in their 1-1 draw on Sunday.
Perth coach Kenny Lowe claimed Sotirio took a dive to get Sotirio sent off.
Both incidents were reviewed by the video assistant referee (VAR).
Australian Associated Press