DARLEY has narrowly avoided an unprecedented forfeit in the Ballarat Football League after its players voted last night on whether to take the field against Sunbury tomorrow.
The Devils' entire playing group hasd a crisis meeting in response to the five week penalty handed out to defender Drew Edwards, who was found guilty of engaging in rough conduct when he made contact with the head of Ballarat player Jayden Cordy during last weekend's match at Darley Park.
Following the meeting the Devils voted late last night in favour of playing although the club will file an appeal with the VCFL appeals board.
Darley president Gerard Harrington said he found out at 6pm the playing group was considering pulling out of the club's away match against Sunbury in protest at the severity of the penalty. He said the players were incensed that Edward received five weeks compared with the one week penalty received by Ballarat's Matt Dawson for a hit under similar circumstances.
"The leadership group had a meeting with Craig Baker, the coach Rod MacPherson, and myself," Harrington confirmed.
"We presented our view and then allowed the players to go away and discuss it. If the players had pulled out the club would have been devastated by it but we felt we could not stop them as a group if they feel that strongly about it.
"As a club we were disappointed with the severity of the penalty. We agree with the players in thinking it was unfair and that's why we are putting in an appeal.
"Drew has been reported once in 21 years of footy since he started in under-sevens. We were expecting Drew to be suspended but compared with other tribunal results we think it is too harsh."
Ballarat coach Shane Hutchinson last night confirmed Cordy's jaw was dislocated during the clash.