Bureaucratics drop the ball
THOSE exalted wackers in the 'blazer brigade' have pushed another pin into the balloon of representative football with their bungling of the Oxley senior campaign.
We're not talking here about Peter Barrett and his kids, who shrugged off the slings and arrows, on the way to a fantastic appearance in the final of the Country Championships.
No, we're referring to the clowns who set up the Open side for the Lismore disaster on May 2-3 when some of the best footballing talent to represent this region was smashed unmercifully.
Publicly, the non-appearance of high-profile player Milton Thaiday has been blamed for the fiasco and the poor bloke has been made a scapegoat, when the real culprits are the faceless goons who tried to use him as a vehicle to re-live past glories, allowing themselves to strut and posture if the team was successful.
From the first trials involving Groups 2, 3 and 4, we knew something was seriously wrong.
My Group 2 informant told the tale of how a Group 3 official didn't realise Thaiday was the fullback for his side.
He believed he was five-eighth and became quite shirty when this was pointed out and trumpeted he would use his influence to get Thaiday into the pivot's role when the Pioneers were announced - which he did.
Thaiday didn't attend the one-and-only training session and should have been dropped then.
Why persist with a player who plainly doesn't want to be there?
It's the first principle of successful footy coaching and management ... not to have disgruntled troops in the ranks.
But instead, the officials down south did their usual boasting through the shamefully compliant media in those parts and you would be forgiven for thinking Thaiday had become the only player in the team.
On Thursday, April 30, Flick Pass went to Taree to visit family and in Tinonee Pie Shop (of all places), met a former football crony.
While discussing the upcoming matches, I was informed: “...Milton has told them he won't be available in Lismore but (official X) keeps hassling him to play ...”
I didn't think about it anymore until the news broke the player didn't front up and he was being blamed for the mess, copping a four-week ban from club football for his sins.
Now we hear Oxley RAM Scott Bone has been told to waste his valuable time on another wild goose chase, investigating whether Thaiday informed officials by text message one day before the match, that he wouldn't be available.
Hey ... but one day prior to even that - as explained above - it was common knowledge around his home territory he wasn't available and members of the blazer brigade just wouldn't take 'no' for an answer.
Various reasons have been given for Thaiday's withdrawal with one story saying he was visiting his sick father in Townsville.
However, the version closest to the truth may have been hinted at by colleague Steve Spinks in our sister newspaper The Northern Star on May 1 where a story on a feud between Thaiday and Northern Thunderbolts manager Chris Binge was big news.
The two were once close but fell out when Thaiday allegedly broke a contract with a Lismore club to join one in Group 3.
My information is that Thaiday had received prior knowledge a week before the game he'd be ostracised from his community as payback and would get a hot reception and plenty of heckling from the sidelines if he fronted up to play.
Some of the very strong comments made by Binge in the Star story suggest his fears may have been justified.
Who knows where RAM Bone's delving may lead, but one thing is clear.
Right from the start, a small bunch of officials long past their use-by date, were up to their old tricks ... undermining, manipulating and pulling strings for their own self interest.
No wonder Oxley were smashed and no wonder rep football in the bush remains on the nose with players and spectators alike.
OPEN grade troubles aside, congratulations to Peter Barrett and his under-18 troops (and the very important support crew) for a mighty campaign.
Maybe next year, management will provide him with assistance for his Probables versus Possibles trial, which despite its controversies, was instrumental in getting an inexperienced side much further than was privately expected.
It can now be revealed that after requesting all clubs nominate five players they thought should be considered for selection, only three of the ten had the courtesy to reply, while one club - Macleay Valley - unfortunately provided Barrett with the name of a player who did not exist.
In 2010, Group 2 must assist with two passable sets of jumpers and a dedicated co-ordinator to handle management and media, so that spelling stuff-ups, mistaken identities, etc., don't cause focus to be lost.
(I'm available, Mr Anderson, in case you're asking ...)
Also, act now to re-appoint Barrett, as well as the Peter Denham-Darren Leaney senior combination, so that we can get the representative ship back on course.
WHEN in-house figures for website 'hits' were released this week, we were stunned to discover the May 4 report on the 16-all draw between Port and Woopi was in the top ten.
After looking at the story again, part of the reason it was so popular could have been the sentiments expressed by rival coaches Pascoe and Leaney about sharing mateship and getting back to the old days when playing bush footy really was fun, and all that happens on the field should be forgotten once the final whistle sounds.
Paz and Daz displayed a sense of humour in their quotes - Darren really did use the expression 'last lager waltz'- and both managed to convey the sense of drama and theatre which made this particular game standout.
It also strengthens comments made here last week, replying to critics who frowned on this writer's habit of asking for opinions about how the other half live outside Coffs, Sawtell etc.
Inevitably, Flick Pass will end up on our website as well and my only fear is when it eventually happens, the hits won't just be online.
FIRST changes in response to the Woolgoolga drama on April 19 have been made.
Only vehicles belonging to players, officials and disabled patrons are allowed inside the ground - full marks to Orara who pioneered this years ago - so grog can no longer be smuggled past security.
Only mid strength and light beer will be sold and while this will not be universally popular, I believe the switch is inevitable for all clubs.
The Seahorses employed two police officers to patrol the ground and there wasn't the slightest whiff of trouble.
Proving the club is fair dinkum about providing a safe environment, one patron was ejected from the ground for swearing with his protests of being a 'good supporter' falling on deaf ears.
These days, the club can offer 5000 reasons why no nonsense will be tolerated and once all clubs adopt this attitude, it may help bring family groups back through the turnstiles.
Sawtell 50 Dunghutti 18
at Rex Hardaker Oval. Referee: Vasco Baston.
Sunday 12 noon
Orara Valley 32 Woolgoolga 26
at Coramba Coliseum. Referee: Nathan Grace.
Port Macquarie 38 Macksville 28
at Allen Gillett Oval. Referee: Cameron Grace.
Bellinger Valley-Dorrrigo 40 Macleay Valley 22
at Verge Street Stadium. Referee: Jason Townley.
Coffs Harbour 30 Nambucca Heads 22
at Coronation Park. Referee: David Dunn.