Several spiteful incidents marred Saturday’s football derby clash between Willaston and South Gawler at Willaston.
One on the changeroom wing in the second quarter sparked concern in the South camp.
The Herald’s exclusive photos show Lions recruit Chris Musolino laying a tackle on Willaston captain Sam Walton, who had possession of the footy, taking him to ground. After the ball was cleared, several Willaston team-mates came in to remonstrate, with a behind-the-scenes melee developing.
The major concern from the Lions’ perspective was the clumsy attempts by Willaston ruckman Jimmy Jones, who came in from 30 metres away and ‘fell’ on top of Musolino, and appeared to have him in a head lock.
“We are mostly disappointed with the lack of action from the umpires, as in this day and age incidents like this should not still be happening,” South football director Daniel Kiryk said.
“When we recruited Chris to the club, one of the things we told him was that our league was not one where players are targeted like that, yet this happens in the second match.
“It’s not in the spirit of the game, and we (South) are trying to help make this a stronger comp for everyone by recruiting quality players. If this stuff goes on, it will make it tougher to attract those types of player.”
Mr Kiryk added that first and foremost his concerns were for the protection of the players, and that he has a duty of care.
The club will write a letter of its concerns over the incidents to Willaston Football Club, the BL&GFA and the umpires association.
“I don’t think the umpires controlled the game as well as they could in these situations, and if it happens again, where they do not take appropriate action, we as a footy club will,” Mr Kiryk said.
“South look at a player’s personality and ability when recruiting, and if these types of incidents remain in our competition, what type of message are we sending?”
As a result of the incident, Musolino left the field to have cuts on his ear and head attended to, before returning and playing a serviceable game.
Meanwhile the big message to come from the South Gawler versus Willaston clash at Willaston last Saturday was that the Lions are going to be a force to be reckoned with in BL&G football this season.
With a functioning rotating on-ball department, a multiple choice forward structure, and a cohesive defence, the ingredients for a successful 2012 is more than a possibility for the much-maligned Lions, who have not tasted finals action in a decade.
“I was happy with our midfield rotations, as they worked hard to get their hands on the ball and used it well,” South coach Scott Lee said.
On Saturday Willaston may have had the more talented group at the stoppages, but South’s ability to put defensive pressure on the ball-carrier allowed the Lions to curb their opponents’ influence in gaining an edge.
And in attack the visitors had multiple options going forward, with strong marking big men, opportunist crumbers and running goalkickers, whereas the Donnybrooks too often relied on bombing the ball into numbers, which too often was repelled.
Kicking four of the game’s first five goals, South laid the foundation of its victory, as it made good use of a handy breeze. Anton Gerardis was looking dangerous at the goal-front for the Lions, kicking two majors while Nathan Bartsch was giving the Donnybrooks headaches with his run from the wing, as he cut through the lines to create plenty of forward incursions.
There was early hope for Willaston late in the first term though, when Jarryd Cole booted a magnificent curling ‘goal of the game’ to close the gap to 17 points at the first change.
But an expected revival by the home side was squashed through the second term, as South booted the first major as both teams kicked truly twice in the first five minutes of the period, before the ‘yips’ set inbut still saw the Lions lead by 19 points at half time.
With the first four majors of the second half, South went 44 points ahead and coasted the rest of the way, with four ‘junk time’ goals in the time on period of the final stanza giving Willaston’s scoreline some respectability.
“We showed we are good enough one-on-one, and I am confident we will push most teams,” Lee said.
South captain Aaron Bayliss was presented with the Scott Medal after the game, for his efforts in marshalling his troops at the stoppages.
Matthew Foldesdy again was a dynamo out of the middle, while Kristian Economou did some good work in defence.
Bartsch is an exciting youngster and was solid all game on the wing, while Daniel Golding continues to grow in stature.
For Willaston, Jarrad McDonald worked hard around the packs to be his side’s most dangerous option pushing the ball forward, Jared Farrow and Josh Taylor had their moments, while Jimmy Jones had a good tussle in ruck.
“We were caught out because we turned the ball over too much all over the field,” Willaston mentor Justin Irving said.
“I think we were on top at the clearances but our skills let us down. Losing Jamie Williams in the first five minutes hurt our forward structure as well.
“It’s a new week now and we need to rebuild our confidence and play some decent footy.”