Devastating time for local league

THIS is a devastating time for local league with one disastrous revelation after another.

But after talking with Group 2 secretary Peter O'Grady and discovering how determined his organisation is fans will enjoy a superb finals series, I've decided to avoid any mention of Gimbisi woes other than following the progress of their exceptional under-18 side and reporting on the people who've emerged with their honour intact from what is a mire of claim and counter-claim.

It's funny - but minutes before the phone rang at Woolgoolga bringing bad news from Shark Park we were watching the coin toss in front of the biggest, noisiest, most fantastically well-behaved crowd of the season.

John Cross, Matt Donovan and Rick Purton came out to do the honours and after handshakes, laughs and good wishes, the trio headed off their separate ways to prepare to do their duty.

We remarked how fortunate we were to have such fantastic advertisements for the game as those three.

Of course, they are not the only ones.

The good people in the competition outnumber the boofheads a thousand to one.

And then, the phone rang...

Since Sawtell played Gimbisi on July 9 and I learned of the spitting incident I feared this call.

With every passing week the news has worsened but everybody tried to stay positive and control their tempers knowing the season only had a few weeks to run and we'd be over the worst.

No such luck.

It's enough to make a man hang his head in despair.

n THE Port Macquarie club are often maligned - usually undeserved.

They had no reason to go out of their way to offer best wishes to the Warriors under-18 players, especially after they'd been beaten by them with a number of wild incidents happening in that grade, followed by nastier scenes as the day wore on.

The Sharks took it further by issuing press statements to that effect as well as dropping verbal bits of praise in the ear of favoured media.

You be the judge.

Which club proved they have class?

n ALL those lingering doubts about certain judgements made in the past by Rick Purton and Faron Nelson seem to have evaporated overnight.

Now, even tough critics of his performances with the whistle are standing up to applaud the backbone shown by Steve Tubbs on Sunday.

Add Shane Taylor to that list.

Calling a game off past the point of no return is one thing but having the spine to put your foot down in knowledge your action is likely to have incalculable implications takes courage and character.

I'm not alone in being appaled at what one club official had to say on national television last Sunday, putting the blame on referees.

Can someone hand him a dictionary open at the page that defines the word "restraint"?

n THE Woolgoolga fracas had nothing to do with Gimbisi but I'm gobsmacked by it's treatment on national television.

Not once - but twice, in the 'pointers' leading up to the film clip, reference was obliquely made to a mother defending her young, or some such nonsense.

With the heart strings tugged and viewers sucked in (delighting advertisers), all mums and bubs references were downgraded in favour of the actual footage of the "shocking scenes" to tittilate viewers.

Ah, good old manipulation and spin at it's lowest common denominator.

Be honest.

What's alleged to have happened is simply a spectator going somewhere she had no right to be and breaking one of the most important conventions in sport.

If further action is deemed necessary then may the proper authority go their hardest.

n MORE good news.

When Uncle Brett crashed to the ground on Sunday, as many Woopi supporters as those from Orara made the effort to ask about his condition.

"Brett doesn't belong to the Axemen anymore," one Seahorse notable told me.

"He belongs to the game."

Fair comment.

They were also impressed when Mark Morrison rang out of the blue to check the progress of a player injured against the Mustangs.

Morro's fan club membership continues to increase.

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