ONE of Rupanyup's Darwin recruits may have played his last game of competitive football - before ever playing a game for the Panthers.
Leroy Larson has been de-registered by the AFL for a second time, after receiving a five-week suspension for racial vilification.
The 23-year-old was found guilty of an offence while playing with St Marys against the Tiwi Bombers in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) three weeks ago.
Larson's comment was allegedly made toward former AFL player Austin Wonaeamirri, who played 31 games with the Melbourne Demons.
St Marys appealed the five-match ban handed down by an independent tribunal, but AFL Northern Territory said that the appeal was dismissed on Wednesday night.
"As a result of the suspension, Larson has been de-registered by the AFL under the National Player and Deregistration Policy," the AFLNT said in a statement.
Larson had been de-registered once before, for accumulating more than 16-weeks of suspension across his playing career.
Nation-wide rules stipulate that any player or official will be de-registered if they have accumulated 16 or more matches total suspension.
Larson was suspended for seven weeks in August 2018 for striking, while playing for Kalangadoo in the South-East Football League in South Australia.
It pushed him beyond a total of 16-weeks suspension across his playing career, and he was automatically de-registered.
However, in October 2019, Larson's childhood club St Marys lodged a successful appeal for him to be re-registered before the 2019-2020 NFTL season.
AFL rules state that if a re-registered player then receives a suspension as a result of a reportable offence, that player will be permanently deregistered.
"The Panel was satisfied that Leroy displayed a genuine commitment to his rehabilitation over the course of the past 12 months, which will continue into the future," an AFL Northern Territory statement said at the time Larson was re-registered.
"Should he reoffend, the opportunity to ever be back involved in the sport he grew up playing will be gone for life."
READ MORE: Rupanyup sign Feeny medallist
Rupanyup president Rodney Weidemann said Larson's latest offence was disappointing for both club and player.
"He's let himself down more than anything else," Mr Weidemann said.
"It's disappointing for us, but at the end of the day he's probably more disappointed, because he doesn't get the opportunity to play footy."
Mr Weidemann said the club was aware of Larson's history before recruiting him.
"We knew he had to behave himself, but obviously he hasn't," he said.
"There's rule around football and we abide by those rules.
"There's not much we can do - he's going to have to deal with the tribunal decision."
Mr Weidemann added that "racial vilification has no place in our game."
St Marys Football Club called for unity in a statement.
"Whilst we are bitterly disappointed with this development, our main focus is on providing as much support for Leroy from within the St Mary's family network as possible while we consider what other options are available to us," they said.
"We are truly impressed with the maturity, mateship, care and love being shown by the senior playing group and the broader St Marys family towards Leroy."
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox twice weekly from the Wimmera Mail-Times. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the Wimmera, sign up below.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.