Avenel president Bill O'Connor says his club will stand by its man and deny Longwood player Richard Puruntatameri was racially vilified during their Kyabram District Football League clash on Saturday.OLIVER CAFFREY April 30, 2014 3:05am
Avenel president Bill O’Connor says his club will vigorously deny a racial vilification claim.
Longwood’s Northern Territory recruit Richard Puruntatameri was allegedly called a ‘‘dirty black witchetty grub’’ by an Avenel opponent during the Redlegs’ 50-point loss at Longwood Recreation Reserve on Saturday.
Longwood has sent a request to Kyabram District Football League for a formal investigation into the incident.
Former AFL player Byron Pickett, who was making a one-off appearance for Longwood, said the offending player offered an apology to him.
‘‘He apologised for what he said (to Puruntatameri), I didn’t know what he had said at the time, so I was a bit lost for words,’’ Pickett said.
‘‘I didn’t hear what he had said (to Puruntatameri), but in hindsight I’m not the one he should’ve been apologising to.
‘‘He (Avenel player) was shattered by what he said and it’s really unfortunate something like that happened because all the locals were awesome to me.’’
Pickett reiterated fellow former AFL player Ronnie Burns’ sentiments, who was also at the game, that there needed to be greater education about racial vilification, rather than severely punishing the alleged offender.
O’Connor said the club would defend the player in question and denied the allegations.
‘‘We will be vigorously denying it,’’ O’Connor said.
‘‘That story (Pickett’s) is not consistent with what our player told us.
‘‘We will stand by our man, he’s not the sort of guy that would say something like that.
‘‘I can tell you this, at the end of the day I thanked the president and the secretary and none of them said anything about any of this to me.’’
Longwood president Justin Fry said the club needed to push for an investigation after being unsatisfied with Avenel’s response.
‘‘The letter has been sent to the KDFNL to get some action on the issue because something like this can’t go unattended,’’ Fry said.
‘‘We weren’t impressed with the club’s (Avenel) stance and trying to sweep it under the carpet — it didn’t sit well with any of us.
‘‘All their (Avenel’s) players stuck around after the game, which was great, and we look forward to challenging them again next time for the Max Cox-Bluey Shelton trophy.’’
Puruntatameri, along with Rodney Moreen, Hector Tipungwuti and Cosmos Munkara were playing their first game for Longwood.
All players intend to live and work in the area while playing for Longwood this season.
Longwood coach Matthew Chilcott said despite initial fears they would go home, the players were keen to continue in Victoria.
‘‘If Ronnie and Byron weren’t there on the day, they wouldn’t be here anymore and would’ve gone back to the NT,’’ Chilcott said.
‘‘They want something done about it, and rightly so, they’re really good guys and something like this shouldn’t happen to anyone.
‘‘They want to live here and to work and earn some money as well as playing footy.’’
AFL Goulburn Murray operations officer Bree Boyle said the KDFNL was unable to comment until the request for an investigation was made official.
The KDFNL received the application, but the request can not be made official until $500 is lodged at AFL GM headquarters.
Pyjama fashions were trialled at Shepparton Railway Station yesterday ahead of tomorrow’s All Aboard Shepparton campaign train to Melbourne.
Local kayaking athletes Brea Roadley and Kayla Whinray have continued making a splash in their sport on both a national and international level.
I believe there are few industries that rival dairy in its capacity to create opportunities for people with a wide variety of skills and experience.
Today at 11am something extraordinary will happen.
Rochester and region businesses might be getting their wish — more police on duty more of the time.
Jackson Gentle beats younger sibling Cooper in thrilling Parkland decider
He's one of football's hottest talents but there's a lot to focus on for young Seymour gun.
Record cattle prices were recorded at the Finley Saleyards on Friday
City of Greater Bendigo has started investigating the feasibility of developing a regional food hub.
Moira Shire Council has purchased the temporary Numurkah Hospital building and will relocate it to Cobram as staff accommodation.
First Deniliquin crop shows promise.
There may never be a solution to the Murray-Darling Basin and managing its water — Australia’s greatest natural asset.
Benalla/Mansfield under-16s narrowly missed out on the top honours at interleague compeition.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.