ONE player will be deregistered and several others have been penalised following a sickening brawl that broke out during a Metro Football League match between Balga and Warwick Greenwood on Sunday.
The Community Football Tribunal met on Wednesday night to go through vision filmed by shocked onlookers as well as statements provided by both teams and witnesses.
Six players from Balga have been penalised, with the tribunal issuing an 18-match ban for striking and kicking leading him to be deregistered under the AFL National Deregistration policy, and another receiving a 12-match ban for striking.
The Metro Football League then issued “prescribed penalties” in accordance with the table of classifiable offences to the four other players including a six-match ban for headbutting and threatening behaviour, and two-match bans for the remaining three players for threatening behaviour.
Balga Football Club has also been ordered to pay a $2000 good behaviour bond for the remainder of the 2019 season, as well as a $1000 good behaviour bond for the 2020 season, and a $250 fine.
The match at Barry Britton Reserve in Balga, which the umpires called off during the fourth quarter, has also been forfeited in favour of Warwick Greenwood.
The Metro Football League also issued three penalties to Warwick Greenwood with two players issued one-match bans for striking, which were reduced to yellow cards with an early guilty plea.
The runner, who received injuries to his eye and was taken to hospital for treatment after he was taken to the ground and punched and kicked, has also received a one-match ban for attempted striking.
Metro Football League President Rowan Carson said the competition would continue to take a strong stance against any form of unacceptable behaviour by endorsing maximum possible penalties.
“We don’t want this type of behaviour to be part of our competition and will make sure we continue setting clear expectations and take a zero-tolerance approach towards anyone that fails to meet these,” he said.
WA Football Commission executive manager of WAFL and football operations Scott Baker said he was extremely disappointed by the incident and that the WAFC fully supported the Metro Football League and Community Football Tribunal’s penalties. “This outcome sends a clear message that unacceptable behaviour at the football will not be tolerated,” he said.
“Everyone should be able to enjoy themselves in a safe and fun environment at all times.”
Police on Wednesday afternoon also confirmed they would be involved with the incident and have called for any witnesses to come forward with information.
The footage shows a Warwick Greenwood player was king hit before a brawl erupted, including several Balga players mobbing the Warwick Greenwood runner.
Warwick Greenwood coach Jay Carroll said the violence erupted after one of his players was head-butted.
Speaking on 6PR radio on Thursday morning, Balga coach Andrew McPhee said the footage looked “very average” and he in no way condoned or justified the players’ actions.
He said his players had copped their penalities, which were “probably fair enough”.
“No one wants to see that sort of violence in society, especially the first hit from the young fellow who didn’t see it coming so hopefully he’s OK” he said.
In regards to the player being deregistered, he said “yeah that was an action he shouldn’t have done”.
“He’s not very happy about it as well,” McPhee said.
“It didn’t look good, did it?”
However, he said having to forfeit the game after the Warwick Greenwood coach called to get his players off the field was “really something I can’t get my head around”.
“Little incidents like that usually just stop and the umpires get control of it again,” he said.
McPhee said he has been around footy “a long time” as a player and coach and disagreed with comments made by Carroll that he could sense something was going to happen.
“Even in the heat of a battle in a final , you can see a lot of body contact and physicality and you just can’t sense a fight happening,” he said.
“I’ve come up through the junior ranks of footy coaching and I’ve been teaching my kids just to play good, honest, hard, tough footy.
“And that’s what these guys do.
“They’re all young, probably with an average age of 20, and you come up against these older sides that are a little bit older and slower, and they use any sort of means to stop and slow us down so we do cop our fair bit and that’s part of footy.”
Carroll has been contacted for comment but because of the ongoing police investigation, has been advised not to.
Balga will play Midland this Sunday, while Warwick Greenwood plays Innaloo.