NORTH Ballarat City has vowed to lay down strict rules after premiership player Ryan Luke was suspended for breaching social media guidelines after last year’s grand final.
Luke is the first senior player in Ballarat Football League history to be suspended by the league for breaching social media laws – banned for the opening two matches of the
He was suspended following last year’s premiership over Sunbury, where it is understood he made comments over Facebook towards Sunbury players amid late-night grand final celebrations.
BFL operations manager Aaron Nunn said the details of the incident were confidential, but said Luke was the first senior player to be suspended under such rules, although there were previous instances where junior players had faced similar penalties.
Luke did not contest the charges last year and accepted the penalty.
It is understood other North City players were also involved, but no other footballers faced penalties.
Sunbury Football Club made an official complaint following the grand final last year, after North Ballarat City coach Rob Waters’ Facebook account was also used to target certain Lions players.
Waters apologised on the following day, where he said his account was “hacked”.
The premiership coach yesterday told The Courier the club was disappointed Luke could not play until round four, but it had learned from the experience and used it as an education base for the entire playing list.
“We sat down over the off-season and had education sessions where we learned what was right and what was wrong,” Waters said.
“The boys know what to do now, we sat them down and had a talk with them. You have to be careful what you say these days and we are all fully aware of that now.”
Luke will miss tomorrow’s season opener against Redan, as well as the round three clash against Ballarat, with North facing the bye in round two.
Due to the Easter break, he is not eligible to play until May 10, North’s round four match against East Point.