Tigers fuming over banner
BANNOCKBURN says its oncehealthy relationship with Inverleigh has been tarnished after a banner surfaced at Saturday’s GDFL grand final accusing its captain of having a “glass jaw”.
Tigers president Neil Grinter said the club took offence to the “distasteful” message draped over the fence at The Gordon TAFE Oval, requesting the league launch an investigation into the incident.
The banner, in Hawks colours and with what appeared the Inverleigh logo, made references to a “glass jaw” and a “Banno whinger”.
A disappointed and upset Inverleigh moved to distance itself from the banner yesterday, declaring it was made without any knowledge or approval from the club.
It’s the latest saga in a bitter falling out between the arch rivals, who were embroiled in controversy following a spiteful preliminary final, in which Tiger skipper Jack Brauman suffered a broken jaw as a result of an elbow from Hawk Ryan Garrard.
Garrard was offered two matches by AFL Barwon’s Match Review Panel, before Bannockburn exercised its right to have the case heard at the tribunal.
Bannockburn coach Peter Riccardi immediately described the incident as a “blatant elbow” and claimed it would be a “joke” if he escaped a hefty ban, causing simmering tensions between the clubs. Garrard was later issued a sixweek suspension, ending his grand final dreams. Riccardi moved to ease friction, declaring he planned to reach out to Garrard after the grand final.
But as the clubs began to move on, the banner emerged.
“It’s a bit distasteful,” Tigers president Neil Grinter said yesterday.
“This guy has gone and had three plates put in his face, and we’ve gone through all the procedures, and it’s not like we did anything wrong.
“Jack’s not happy and nor is his family. Knowing Jack as well as I do, it makes him look a bit silly. It’s not the way it should be.
“The outcry from some of the people who have been around our club for a long time ... they were appalled by it, and for Jack’s sake, I was too.
“We don’t need that sort of stuff. I saw the X-rays of Jack’s jaw, and for them to say he’s got a glass jaw, it’s not good enough.
“I’m the trainer and when he came off the ground there was a half a centimetre gap between his two bottom teeth where his jaw had cracked and I don’t think anyone would’ve (escaped injury from) what he copped.”
Angry at the creators of the banner, Inverleigh president Rick McEwan said he was frustrated the relationship with Bannockburn had been further soured.
“That’s the sad part about it,” McEwan said.
“It turns out it was a few kids that made it, from what I can gather, but I seriously didn’t see it and I’m upset that it was actually there.
“I’m going to find out more, and I’ve been asking around because the league has spoken to me about it, but that’s not how we roll out here.
“If I’d seen it, I would have taken it down myself. I was completely unaware of it and so was the committee. Even (senior coach) Mark McDowell didn’t know about it.”
Grinter said Brauman was not at the grand final to see the banner, but members of his family were soon notified.
A video surfaced on Bell Post Hill’s Facebook page of a group of men walking across the ground and confronting the owners of the banner, before tearing it down. “I was just surprised,” Grinter said. “After the letter Inverleigh sent to the press about how sorry they were for Jack and how they wanted to move on, then they go and put this (banner) up.
“The whole episode with Jack and Garrard ... we thought we did the right thing in appealing the decision because it was more than a hip-and-shoulder.
“So we’ve gone through the process and we were happy with the result, and so was Jack, and we just wanted to move on. “We’ve worked hard, particularly me as a president, to calm everything down because these things can really get out of hand and we got everything sorted out and this came up.”