By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
LEADING up to the crucial Group 2 general meeting on Wednesday night, the Gimbisi Warriors have taken the first steps towards proving that what occurred during last Sunday's abandoned clash against Port Macquarie is unacceptable to the club.
As the rest of the Group set themselves to decide the fate of the beleaguered club, the Warriors have gone onto the front foot by releasing a press statement explaining the actions the club has taken since last weekend's events.
The statement opens by saying that the club wants to 'formally and publicly apologise for the conduct of the football team' and that 'the behaviour is not condoned by the club'.
A meeting was held on Thursday afternoon with players and officials of the club attending.
At this meeting Thomas Wright, Willie Lockwood and Mal Webster were 'publicly shamed for their involvement in the incident' and Lockwood was stripped of the Warriors' captaincy.
On Thursday evening, these three players all received suspensions of varying length from the Group's judiciary.
Mal Webster had his clean record over 20 years taken into account when he given a one match ban. Willie Lockwood was suspended for four competition matches but this was considered minor compared to the length of the suspension received by Thomas Wright.
Wright had already been suspended by the Warriors for a year that afternoon, but the judiciary had even worse news for him as he is not allowed to play until 2007.
Another initiative instituted by the Warriors is that all three of the suspended players must 'successfully undertake an anger management course with Mick Royden from Area Health before being again allowed to play'.
Gimbisi are hopeful that Royden will be able to provide anger management support for both players and management as well as becoming involved with training the team.
All players will also be required to sign a 'compulsory code of conduct' which is currently being finalised by the club.
The club insists that any player who does not strictly comply with the code will not be permitted to play.
A positive step taken prior to this week's crucial decision regarding the club's future.
Only time will tell if this effort by the Warriors is a case of too little, too late.