Parents of junior footballers worried about on-field violence

BALLARAT Football League has again become embroiled in the hot-button issue of on-field violence, this time with a reported assault in a junior game.

The latest incident, involving junior footballers from Darley and Mt Clear, occurred at the weekend and has parents deeply concerned about the welfare of their children playing football.

The Courier understands two Mount Clear players were injured in incidents during the game at Mount Clear Recreation Reserve on Sunday.

Parents who contacted The Courier, but wished to remain unnamed, said the culture of aggression and violence behind the play had to stop to ensure young footballers’ safety.

The BFL has gone on the offensive and confirmed there will be an independent investigation into Sunday’s incident

BFL operations manager Aaron Nunn confirmed it was the second investigation stemming from the weekend, following another independent investigation involving Darley, in which an East Point under-18.5s player was hospitalised with a broken jaw after being struck by a Darley footballer in an off-the-ball incident.

Mount Clear Junior Football Club president Grant Bradshaw said parents of both injured Mounties players had serious concerns for the welfare of their children.

One child was taken to hospital in Ballarat.

Bradshaw said the Mounties had been looking to request an investigation when the BFL stepped up to call for an investigation on behalf of all clubs.

Part of the investigation will determine if the incident occurred behind play.

Bradshaw said the Mounties were co-operating fully with the BFL on the BFL’s lead for an outcome.

“The club is very concerned about the incidents and the club is working with the BFL to resolve the incidents,” Bradshaw said.

“We won’t rest until there is a suitable resolution.”

Darley junior football president Ross Bewley said he had spoken with Devils coaches involved in the game and was aware of the BFL investigation.

Bewley said that while the club’s senior arm was dealing with the separate under-18s investigation, the club as a whole was not happy with a few rogue elements at the club and was actively working to change the club culture.

melanie.whelan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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