A women’s football match between South Morang and Sunbury Lions was abandoned on Sunday after fighting broke out across the ground.
As umpires struggled to keep control and tempers reached breaking point, South Morang coach Maurice Baldasso made the decision to end the division 2 Victorian Women’s Football League, match at Lakes Reserve, in the third quarter.
Sunbury was leading South Morang, also nicknamed the Lions, 5.4 (34)-0.1 (1) at the time.
South Morang president and women’s assistant coach Jim Chetcuti said he would speak to league officials this week about the umpiring and about the way Sunbury played.
“Our coach called it off because of the loss of control by the umpires and the physicality and the unfair way [Sunbury] were playing,” he said.
“We’ve got nine girls with serious injuries … concussions, broken collar bones and a potential back fracture, all from rough play.
“At the end of the day we did our best and tried to play football. We did for a while but it got out of control and our coach said enough was enough and called it.
“We called it off with fights starting … we’re not in it for the fights and the rough stuff.
“We’ll certainly let [the league] know what took place.”
Sunbury coach Kerry Saunders said she would not have called the match off.
“We played in a lower level than [South Morang] last year, so I thought they’d understand what was coming,” she said.
“We promote fair, hard, fast football and we continue that all the way.
“If my girls did something wrong I’d be the first to drag them off. I thought all our tackles were clean and good and so did the umpires.
“I suggested to the umpire to send one off, I didn’t care who it was or from which side. All you have to do is send one off for swearing or a bad tackle or punch-on; it’s the best way to cut it out.”
The two Lions sides were playing each other for the first time after promotion from their respective divisions last year.
Sunbury controlled the game from the start but scored only one goal in the first quarter.
Play was halted in the second quarter when an ambulance was called to treat South Morang’s Jacinta Campbell for severe concussion caused by a tackle.
An early half-time was called while waiting for the ambulance, before play resumed to finish off the quarter.
Sunbury Lions came out the better after the break and started to hit the scoreboard before the match was called off.
AFL Victoria said the score was likely to stand.