Big Rivers’ night of shame - security guards suggested for games

Even more charges have been laid as a result of AFL’s night of shame in Katherine.

Yet more may follow from the now infamous early season match at Nitmiluk Oval on May 18.

Five players have now been charged under the AFL’s National Vilification and Discrimination Policy and enquiries are ongoing into spectator behaviour.

AFL NT has today released recommendations from a report into the independent investigation into an ugly incident which saw players and spectators involved in a melee after a spiteful match between Kalano Bombers and Katherine Camels.

The report suggests AFL NT should look at hiring licensed crowd controllers at the Katherine competition’s football games to “monitor and control all persons” who attend the game.

The AFL responded by saying “AFLNT staff in the region will work with local authorities to ensure the safety of all patrons”.

One club official has told Katherine Times today the issue of security guards had been suggested in past years but there was no budget for it.

A pall has been thrown over the whole season, which only has two games to go before the finals.

The independent investigation published a number of key findings and recommendations, of which the following can now be released;

There is sufficient available evidence in this matter to support the charges already laid by against four players from the Kalano Bombers and one from Katherine Camels.

Also, the investigation recommended that another Katherine Camels’ players  be charged with “engaging in rough conduct against an opponent which in the circumstance is unreasonable."

There were six key recommendations published in the investigation report:

  • That if found guilty, the Tribunal impose significant penalty to each guilty party.

The NT Worksafe BRFL independent Tribunal is dealing with these matters. Some players were given more than five matches and allowed to play again in the final rounds because they were barred from playing because of the long time the investigation had taken. 

  • That, if lawful and where there is sufficient evidence to do so; impose charges for breaches of the "AFLNT Code of Conduct and Condition of Entry" and the "National Vilification and Discrimination Policy" - February 2013.

AFLNT can confirm that notices of charge have been issued to five players under the National Vilification and Discrimination Policy and enquiries are ongoing into spectator behaviour. The date/s these matters will be heard is to be confirmed.

  • That both Kalano Football Club and Katherine Camels Football Club are "put on notice" advising that racial vilification and/or on field invasions by non-players will not be tolerated in the Big Rivers Football Competition.

AFLNT is not in a position to action this recommendation until the findings, and due process of the independent Tribunal has finished.

  • That the AFLNT give consideration to employing licensed crowd controllers at football games to monitor and control all persons who attend the game.

AFLNT staff in the region will work with local authorities to ensure the safety of all patrons.

  • That all of the teams involved in the Big Rivers Football Competition are officially advised of the outcomes of this matter.

AFLNT will consult with all clubs once the matters from this investigation and subsequent tribunals are finalised.

  • That key personnel at AFLNT such as umpires, coaches, club managers, club presidents etc make themselves available to provide evidence by way of interview or statement when AFLNT investigations have been initiated.

AFLNT update the competition's policies and procedures on an annual basis and will look to include this recommendation in the 2019 iteration which governs all clubs and divisions.

In conclusion, the matter is still ongoing with three cases still to be heard by the independent match Tribunal and five others to be heard by the Disciplinary Tribunal.

AFLNT will continue to work with the respective clubs to finalise these matters fairly and in consideration of their availability.

The actual report is not going to be released by the AFL.

“The investigation was complex and extensive and the report contains sensitive information that is not appropriate for public issue,” a spokeswoman said.