An unfortunate breach of a new rule brought in at the start of the 2016 AFL Cairns football season has made it necessary to alter the match line-up for this Saturdays AFL Cairns Semi Finals.
The Round 21 contravention, which was genuinely unintentional, has caused Port Douglas Reserves to be docked four premiership points and receive a fine of $250. The knock on effect is that this relegates Port from second to third position on the end of season Reserve Grade ladder.
At the start of 2016 AFLC worked with their Clubs to develop a rule to cater for the introduction of Pyramid Power to the Reserve grade competition. Essentially that rule was to ensure fairness to the new team which would play the reserve grade teams of clubs having a senior bye. This imbalance occurred due to the senior competition having seven teams and reserves having eight.
Under Rule 6. Competition/Matches, the Reserve Grade Eligibility reads as follows:
Rule 6.17 (a) When a Club has a senior Team bye, only four (4) players who played in that Senior team the previous week are eligible to play in their Reserve grade Team the following week.
Rule 6.17 (b) Notwithstanding the preceding sub-Rule, players who have played nine (9) or more ‘senior’ games in Rounds 1-14 will be ineligible to play in their Clubs reserve grade match during the Clubs senior Team bye round between Rounds 15-21.
Rule 6.17 (c) If a Club fails to adhere to Rule 6.17(a) and 6.17(b), that Club will be liable for the loss of four (4) premiership points per player exceeding the number of permitted players. The Club will also receive a fine of 25 Penalty Units per player exceeding the permitted number of players.
Port Douglas have been open in their admission of an error and it is the League’s belief that the oversight of playing two ineligible players was accidental.
AFL President Gary Young said,” This incident is unusual and we are 100% confident that Port have made an inadvertent error. However the integrity of the new rule is very important and the fixed penalty embedded into the Rule has to be enforced. All other clubs have abided by it this year and we can’t set precedents for the future by not enforcing the penalty. We have complete empathy for Port.”
The deduction of four premiership points causes Port to lose the double-chance placing them in the sudden death First Semi Final against Centrals Trinity Beach.
AFL Cairns Operations Manager, Sean Hunter said,” The penalty is serious at the business end of the season. To lose the double chance puts a lot of pressure on the team and club. Port is a very professional club and we’re sure they’ll fire up for a good performance against the Bulldogs”.
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