Gold Coast defender Steven May admits his five-game AFL ban let his teammates down.
The 24-year-old made his return from suspension in last weekend’s heavy defeat to West Coast in Perth – the Suns’ seventh defeat in a row.
May was referred directly to the tribunal for a high bump on Brisbane’s Stefan Martin in round four.
His ugly hit on the Lion combined with Rory Thompson’s hamstring injury left coach Rodney Eade light on tall options in defence, while also battling an injury crisis throughout the club.
May sat out clashes with North Melbourne, Geelong, Melbourne, GWS and Adelaide, with four of those matches ending in defeat by 12 or more goals.
May knows his actions have hurt the Suns and says as club vice-captain it has been tough being forced to watch younger, less experienced teammates carry the burden.
“I’ve let them down for five weeks, especially with such a young team with all the injuries,” May said.
“Young blokes like Sean Lemmens – Jarrod Harbrow’s not a young bloke, but he’s a leader – they’ve all had to step up and carry the backline.
“I can’t really think about that much any more and just try and help for the rest of the year.” May’s ban continues a poor disciplinary record for the imposing tall defender, including a three-match suspension last year for bumping Lions’ skipper Tom Rockliff.
May concedes he will have to adjust his playing style to avoid similar disciplinary trouble.
“I don’t want to have to go through that length of suspension again,” he said.
“I’ve had to change my ways. I don’t really bump a lot, it’s just when I have I’ve been reported.
“You’ve just got to go for the ball nowadays, there’s no time for a bump anymore really. If you make any high contact you’re going to cop a good suspension so I can’t see that happening too much any more.”