Gympie coach defends team after officials put stop to game
AUSSIE RULES: It was supposed to be a game that showcased AFL Wide Bay's best attacking and defensive teams, a possible grand final preview between the supremely talented Gympie Cats and Hervey Bay bombers.
Instead, the Six Mile Oval game on Saturday will be dissected by investigators after a melee in the final minutes caused umpires to call the game off early.
The Bombers were on their way to giving the Cats a thumping when sparks flew and confusion engulfed the game two minutes before the final siren.
Cats head coach Courtney Findlay said the Cats captain Lanze Magin received a red card, which prompted the sparks.
"It was just a couple of players who had a heated confrontation, there was nothing severely malicious in my view,” he said.
Findlay said he wasn't disputing the game and acknowledged the Bombers performance.
"The Bombers came in ready to play and they played well.
"We'll go back to the drawing board.”
AFL Wide Bay president Anthony Stothard confirmed an incident occurred with two minutes left in the game and that would be investigated.
He said the result (101-62) would stand.
The game was officiated by Brisbane-based umpires, and it is unknown if AFL Wide Bay's independent investigator will handle the post-mortem or if it will be elevated to AFL Queensland.
Hervey Bay Bombers coach Darren Hunter refused to be drawn on the incident, which marred a heavyweight battle between teams ranked second and third on the ladder and with similar records.
They entered with an identical win-loss record, and with one win each in two clashes earlier this season.
The Cats boasted a better attack by just a solitary point - kicking 1416 points, while the Bombers had scored 1415 points - and the Cats had conceded nine points fewer than Hervey Bay (683 v 692).
Hunter said his midfield dominated the win, which puts the Bombers into clear second on the ladder behind local rivals Bay Power.
"Luke Bish, Matty O'Brien, Dean Leary were all great, but our midfield is killing it at the moment,” Hunter said. "It was a really good game but we just put our foot on the gas.”
Gympie will play three more games at home, one of those at Pomona, the home of the Demons and the club with whom the Cats merged to field teams in the AFL Wide Bay.
The Gympie Cats will travel to Bundaberg this Saturday to face The Waves.