THE Ballarat Football League’s eastern clubs have copped the brunt of the tribunal over the past five years, new analysis shows.
A compilation of all senior football reports brought before the Ballarat Independent Football Tribunal since 2008 reveals that players from the five eastern clubs have been found guilty 42 times from 56 tribunal appearances (75 per cent) for a combined total of 113 matches suspended. In addition there have been 43 set penalties of a week apiece taken.
Meanwhile the six Ballarat-based clubs have received 29 guilty verdicts from 49 appearances (a still high 59 per cent) for a total of 50 games suspended. There have also been 25 set penalties taken.
And eastern players receive, on average, 56 per cent longer on the sidelines than Ballarat-based players after being found guilty.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” Darley president Gerard Harrington says.
“We have felt for a number of years that there are inequities at the tribunal and these numbers vindicate what we’ve been saying.”
“It has been an issue in this end of the league for quite some times and we have made our feelings known to the league. It is one of the issues that we hope to raise at a meeting of the eastern blocs in three weeks time.”
Melton and Darley players have fared worst at the tribunal, both in total number of weeks suspended and average weeks penalty per offence.
In terms of matches suspended per guilty verdict, the most harshly dealt with clubs are, in order: Melton (3.3 games per guilty verdict), Sunbury (3.0), Darley (2.8), Bacchus Marsh (2.4), and Melton South and Lake Wendouree tied on two matches per guilty verdict.
In 13 tribunal appearances in the past five years, Darley players have been found guilty 10 times for a total of 28 weeks suspended. Melton has nine guilty verdicts from 11 appearances for 30 weeks suspended in total.
Sebastopol has fared worst of the Ballarat clubs with 12 guilty verdicts for 23 weeks suspended.
When set penalties are taken into account, Melton South has had the most players reported (25), followed by Darley (22), Sebastopol (21) and Sunbury (20).
In contrast Redan is the BFL’s cleanskin with just one guilty verdict (Jake Bridges for one week) in five years from five appearances. East Point has three guilty verdicts from eight appearances for a total of three weeks.
“The data has been distributed to the board for their consideration. If you look at the statistics in isolation some people may see them as a cause for concern but there are many other factors that must be considered, including style of play, and the varying competence of player advocates,” BFL chief executive officer Rod Ward said.
“Our tribunal is highly regarded within the VCFL and has our full support. Nevertheless the board will be discussing this. We have a meeting scheduled with the eastern clubs for the September 4 and no doubt we will report back to them at that time.”