Group 19 referees make a stand

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April 24th, 2020

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THEMoree Boomerangs clash with Goondiwindi tomorrow night will still go ahead despite Group 19 referees going on strike.
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The remaining senior matches will not be played this weekend, however it is hoped this round will be played at the completion of the regular season before the finals, pushing the grand final back a week.

Goondiwindipresident Peter Rice contacted Group 19 yesterday to express his disappointment after theyhad advertised and sold tickets to a Queensland juniorschoolboys carnival scheduled to finishearly on Saturday afternoon.

The carnival wouldact as aprecursorto the Boars/’Rangsmatches and Ricewas assured referees would be provided for the senior matches that afternoon.

For the rest of the group,the men with the whistle are making a stand following a technicality which allowed two Tingha under 18 players to escape without punishment following a brawl in their match against the Moree Boars two weeks ago.

The players were sent off at the time but later exonerated at a judiciary hearing following the completion of allegedly incorrect forms.

Group 19 Referees’ Association president, Charlie Kiehne, said as far as he knew the paperwork was filled in correctly.

“The referee in question is one of our more experienced referees. Everything in the report seemed legit; it actually seemed to have been done really well,” he said.

“We’re trying to stamp violence in sport out under our Tough Love in League program where a send-off is an automatic one-week suspension.

“Our main issue is the lack of transparency from the judiciary.

“We try to do our job and then we have players being let off. We felt we had to make a stand to try and get everyone on the same page.”

Kiehne said the referees didn’t want to stop footy in the bush, but felt their hands were tied.

Group 19 president Mick Lewis was extremely disappointed at the action the referees had taken and refuted the claims.

“It’s totally unnecessary and we don’t understand the need to call the strike,” he said.

“The codes and the boxes on the forms were wrong and if you go to any court or any judiciary and everything is not in order the hearing will not proceed,” he said.

Lewis acknowledged the group had been in touch with the referees association to determine what could be done to prevent the industrial action to which they were told “we don’t know”.

“To our knowledge all theirdemands have been met, but they’re still taking action.”

The referees’ association and Group 19 will meeton July 1 which Lewis said would have gone ahead regardless of whether any action was taken this weekend.

Boars president Todd Mitchell said the matter had been brewing for a while.

“If they’ve been unhappy with the judiciary they have to be heard and this is their way of doing it,” he said.

“If they’re sending blokes off who are getting off on a technicality and playing the next weekend, what’s the point of sending them off?”

Mitchell said it was now up to the clubs to back the referees and punish their own players for any wrong doing.

“Unless it’s a dodgy decision the clubs need to take more responsibility.

“We’ve had a player sent off twice this year in reserve grade and we’ve had no problem with it. We’ve taken the early guilty plea and gotten on with it.

“Without referees we don’t have football and that’s proven the case this weekend.”

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