Junior footy players punished for bad sports seniors
THOMAS De Jonckheere knows his club's senior players stole and threw bags off a bus on Saturday but he doesn't know why he can't play footy tomorrow.
The 12-year-old was looking forward to a home game for his Boyne Island Tannum Sands Saints AFL team.
But The president of the AFL Capricornia, John Round, has banned all Saints teams from the field after a friendly beer between the club's senior team and rivals Glenmore Bulls turned sour on the weekend.
As we reported on Wednesday, club gear was stolen from the Bulls bus, and possessions scattered on the side of the Bruce Hwy.
The two clubs were set for a fierce encounter tomorrow.
But yesterday Mr Round said the league had to send a strong message.
"We won't cop that crap," he said.
"Frankly we have worked awfully hard to make this a family sport and we're not going to let this incident destroy that.
"The message is no football there this week and that's the price you pay."
But the decision to ban even the junior teams from the field tomorrow doesn't sit well with some players or their parents.
Keir Kreis's two boys play for BITS teams in under-9s and under-13s.
He said the juniors were being punished for the action of individuals in the senior team.
"I'm bitterly disappointed they haven't put up their hands up and taken responsibility," he said.
"Their actions are punishing hundreds of people. It's not just the players; the club could take thousands of dollars at a home game."
BITS club president Andrew McMahon wouldn't say what action had been taken on the senior players involved because it was still too "raw".
"You do the wrong thing you put your hand up and take responsibility," he said.
"We absolutely support the league's decision.
"The message sent to everyone in football is if you make the wrong decision, whether you are 12 or 52, you are responsible for your actions."
Unfortunately for Glenmore players, this means they too won't be playing this weekend.
"We're putting the game ahead of our individual clubs. It's just a shame for the Boyne Island juniors and our juniors," club spokesperson Wayne Redsell said.
"It's a big away trip for us and we find it harder to get the juniors down there. It's probably a fortunate situation for us."
Despite hail and heavy rain, young Thomas De Jonckheere was still at training at Boyne Island Oval yesterday; desperate for a kick.
PLEASE NOTE: All BITS vs Mudcrabs games in under 7s - 9s grades will be played as per usual on Sunday