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WAFL clubs rage against tribunal system
WAFL clubs rage against tribunal system

West Perth have urged the WA Football Commission to launch a comprehensive review of the WAFL disciplinary system after the failure to identify the cause of Alex Elisseou's severe facial injury.

And South Fremantle endorsed their rival's concerns after being angered by the farcical inquiry into youngster Mason Shaw's broken cheekbone in the pre-season.

Perth defender Chris Billings was investigated over the clash at Arena Joondalup this month that left Elisseou with a broken jaw but the tribunal found he had no case to answer.

West Perth were baffled by the tribunal action, and the refusal of chairman Trevor O'Sullivan to issue a penalty to Elisseou despite finding him guilty of striking Billings in retaliation.

The Falcons were not critical of O'Sullivan but believe the WAFL's new notice of investigation system is fundamentally flawed and is incapable of properly examining serious incidents.

"There have been two young footballers in the past couple of months who have suffered serious injuries and no one has been held to account," West Perth chief executive Gerry O'Dea said.

"We want to make sure that the tribunal is operating at optimum efficiency. We have probably reached the stage where we need to ramp up the level of professionalism in terms of evidence.

"This was a difficult case but we can't have a situation where players are receiving serious facial injuries and nothing comes of it."

West Perth will bypass WAFC competitions director Grant Dorrington and WAFL operations manager Clint Roberts today by expressing their concerns directly to chief executive Gary Walton.

The Falcons will argue that the WAFC needs to appoint an independent football investigator to gather evidence and present a case to the tribunal.

The current NOI system was introduced last month after Shaw was injured behind the play during a practice match involving East Fremantle's Mitch Brown, a West Coast player.

South Fremantle were highly critical of the WAFL investigation of that matter, saying there was a strange reluctance to interview Shaw and that the club was denied the opportunity to lodge a complaint against Brown.

"We were unhappy with the way it was conducted," South Fremantle CEO Brian Ciccotosto said.

"The investigation was not thorough enough. There were a few players who saw it who were not interviewed. We would like to get involved in formulating a new process so that if it happens again the league has a better system."

Under the new process, any serious matter not seen by any match umpires and not captured by video would be automatically sent to the tribunal for examination.

But O'Sullivan identified a flaw in the system in his opening comments at the Billings hearing when he said the tribunal's traditional role had been to weigh conflicting evidence. He said it was now required to become an investigator.

"This is different to any previous hearing because the tribunal is required to bring an investigation rather than conclude one," he said.

O'Dea said the injury would cost Elisseou more than a month's wages as an apprentice electrician and required him to use six different types of medication to combat infection and inflammation.

There have been two young footballers in the past couple of months who have suffered serious injuries and no one has been held to account." West Perth chief executive *Gerry O'Dea *