Late resolution averts AFL fiasco
By GREG WHITE AND STEVE ARCHBOLD
COMMONSENSE has prevailed in AFLNorth Coast with a late solution to a dilemma which could have meant two teams both waiting at home tomorrow for the opposition to arrive.
A 'Mexican Standoff' nearly occurred with both the Magpies and Kangaroos setting up to host a home game and neither club prepared to bend.
Yesterday, Port Macquarie prevented a fiasco occurring by graciously agreeing to play the match at Advocate Park.
After North Coffs forfeited the season opener drawn to be played down south the executive compensated by allocating a replacement home game, an act the northern club claimed was unconstitutional.
"League president Jim Woodlock says that he stated at the last meeting we have to go there this weekend yet the only people who remember him saying that is the president himself and Paul Sheldon from Port," an adamant North Coffs president Brad Greenshields said.
"The secretary didn't record anything closely resembling this statement in the minutes."
"Jim and I are friends away from our football wars but the simple issue is the club should be notified in writing of a decision this large."
When contacted in Moree by the Coffs Coast Advocate the AFLNC president was just as adamant Greenshields had his wires crossed.
"The rules are cut and dried and to say it was a 'Mexican Standoff' is ridiculous," Woodlock stated.
"The by-laws were amended in the minutes three years ago to cover a situation like this and Brad knows that."
As for the Magpies, club president Paul Sheldon refused to buy into the argument when contacted for his opinion.
"I have nothing to say and won't answer any questions," he said bluntly.
When another tack was tried he continued: "I've already told you I have nothing to say.
"Whatever Jim Woodlock had to say that's our position.
"We'll agree with everything Jim says."
Sheldon then ended the contact.
Despite sticking to his convictions, Woodlock yesterday showed the wisdom of Soloman to broker a deal for the good of the game to end the stand-off.
Somehow the league president has managed to create an uneasy truce between the two clubs so that tomorrow's match could go ahead. Woodlock's assertion that an amendment occurred was checked against the 'By-Laws and Constitution 2005' posted on the league's website, no reference could be found.
There was no definitive direction in the relevant section 5.1.2 dealing with "Forfeits" or any comparative detail when directed to "Laws of Australian Football" Rule 10.7.2 (Consequences of Forfeiture).
"In a phone conversation I had with Jim he claims minutes from a meeting three years ago say if you forfeit a match then the next home match between those two clubs is played as an away game," Greenshields stated.
"I don't know if that's true or not and I've asked for a copy of those minutes."
He added a book of league by-laws had been handed to constituent clubs at the beginning of 2005 that Woodlock had a hand in creating.
"There's no mention in the by-laws about this type of thing happening," he said.
North Coffs have admitted relief at the situation coming to a close and now would like to get on with the business of hosting a home game.
"We're ecstatic for our players that they will get to play a game of football tomorrow and it's a credit to Jim Woodlock that he's been able to make it happen," Greenshields said. "Trouble is I don't think we'll get too big a crowd there, everyone will probably go over to Fitzroy Oval for the match of the day."