Sport

Barooga Hawks call for harsher tribunal penalties

By Tyler Maher

A Murray Football Netball League club is calling for harsher tribunal penalties and more rights for offended players in the wake of a recent hearing.

Barooga was unhappy when an opposition player was given just a six-week penalty — with two of those suspended until the end of the season — for intentionally striking club member Brendan Goesch in round 11 this season.

Barooga committee member Darrell Bowden described the hit as being a significant distance behind play and to around the ear of Goesch, forcing the Hawk to seek X-rays to allay fears of lasting damage to his brain and skull.

‘‘We are filthy on the precedent set, four weeks for (this) is not right, it should be 12 weeks at least,’’ Bowden said.

‘‘It was 100m behind play, from behind and it knocked him out cold. He’s missed four weeks of football and has had several days off work.

‘‘This is nothing to do with the footy club or the player responsible, the offending player to his credit did not deny any part of the Barooga player’s testimony or anyone else’s for that matter.

‘‘This is about the tribunal and the terrible precedent that has been set.’’

Bowden also questioned the appeals process of the tribunal system for offended players.

‘‘There is also no appeals process available, that’s wrong too,’’ Bowden said.

‘‘You can appeal to AFL national head office, costing $5500, and you have 48 hours.

‘‘If he was given 12 weeks, they are the only ones who have the right to appeal (directly to the tribunal), so they could appeal.

‘‘The process is broken, it needs fixing or parents will pull kids from our game.

‘‘You will have parents directing their young kids away from football and to non-contact sports like soccer, basketball or tennis.

‘‘You will lose people from our great game.’’

Murray league general manager Dale Norman was unable to comment on the individual tribunal matter, but felt a review was the first step in the process if clubs wanted to change any of the league’s rules or by-laws.

‘‘By their own constitution and rules the clubs make up the leagues which make up AFL Victoria,’’ Norman said.

‘‘So maybe the governing body needs to send out a review to leagues and ask them what needs to be changed.

‘‘AFL Victoria needs to show initiative in this situation.

‘‘I think a review should be done every year, the game is constantly evolving and input from the leagues and clubs is extremely important because they are at the coalface every weekend.’’

AFL Goulburn Murray region general manager Jamie Macri said any review would have to take place at an AFL level, but also addressed what he described as a ‘‘disappointing’’ trend this season in the region with reports coming in thick and fast.

‘‘If there was a review into the tribunal, it would have to be through the AFL,’’ Macri said.

‘‘As an independent body the tribunal makes decisions based on all of the evidence in front of them and we have to trust that process. If a club is then unhappy, they can appeal through their league and they will get the money back if it is not deemed to be a frivolous appeal.

‘‘We’ve had over 80 reports in the region this year, which is extremely high.

‘‘It’s disappointing because we want everyone to be safe when playing the game and we want it to be an inclusive environment.

‘‘We understand that things happen and that there’s going to be reports, but we’ll certainly be going back through our coaches and clubs and seeing what we can do to get the number of reports to settle down again.’’