Senior AFL officials to host urgent community meeting

THE fallout from an AFL (NSW/ACT) employee being charged with grooming a 13-year-old Coffs Coast boy has prompted the body to announce a community meeting to address the issue.

Former Geelong premiership captain and current AFL (NSW/ACT) general manager Tom Harley has arrived in Coffs Harbour to host the meeting with other senior officials.

"We take these matters extremely seriously," Mr Harley said.

"Our first and foremost concerns are for the parents and the participants of our programs.

Mark Heaney, the 42-year-old Coffs Harbour football coach facing several charges relating to his recent use of the internet, was granted bail today to reappear in court in July and AFL (NSW/ACT) immediately took steps to stand him down from his duties with the organisation.

Mr Harley said the meeting would start at 7pm in the Blue Room of C.ex Coffs tonight. He said it's vital that the state body support the local AFL community at this time.

"Sport is the heart of a lot of small communities, the AFL has a sports community here in Coffs Harbour," he said.  

"By extension of that, clubs, players, committees, parents are all involved and we want to certainly be part of the community and provide support for them."

Mr Harley said he'd been in discussions with the police since late last night and has been on the front foot to get across as much detail as possible.

"We take these matters extremely seriously," he said.

"Our first and foremost concerns are for the parents and the participants of our programs.

"We're appalled by the allegations and as a result we've acted swiftly to be here as part of the community."

Mr Harley encouraged anyone who has any further information to co-operate fully with the police and come forward.



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