Axemen adamant abuse of a racial nature didn't happen
ORARA Valley refutes claims made by a South Grafton official during the week that a spectator racially vilified a player when the Rebels played at Coramba Sportsground a week ago.
A South Grafton offical alleges that a spectator yelled out a racial slur to centre Luke French after the speedster was sent from the field by the referee late in the match.
Axemen president Peter Spinks said it's a situation his club viewed seriously, investigated thoroughly but found no evidence such a comment was made.
"Orara Valley has made its own inquiries into the matter, we've interviewed a number of spectators that were at the ground in that area last weekend and all of their comments were that there were zero racial comments made," Spinks said.
Spinks said that Orara Valley is confident its members know the club's stance regarding racism.
"We take a zero tolerance in any racial comments whatsoever as we proved last year when we dealt with a racial incident that occurred out here," he said.
An element of the past week that has disappointed the club as a whole is the proud Indigenous tradition Orara Valley has.
The Axemen's golden era was built on the back of Indigenous players like Matt Donovan, Brett Davis and Brad Hart who are all club legends.
Spinks said it goes further than that at Orara Valley.
"What's happened this week at the club is definitely a feeling of disappointment that this would be pointed at us considering the work we've done, especially last year and in the pre-season," he said.
"We've had the Redfern All Blacks up here and it's a great rivalry with those guys that we're looking to continue next year as well.
"These sort of things I think tarnish a club's good image. It's really not warranted."
Spinks added that just because the club's investigation found no evidence of racial vilification in this instance, it doesn't offer an excuse for his club to reduce its vigilance regarding racial vilification.
"We'll continue to work on our own backyard if you like and we'll continue to make sure that we stamp any of that out if we hear it or we see it," he said.
"But last weekend, that was a really disappointing outcome for something that there was no factual evidence behind."