BTFC’S versatile utility Nathan Brooks and Valleys’ Wade Weeks battle it out on Saturday night at Boyne Oval.
BTFC’S versatile utility Nathan Brooks and Valleys’ Wade Weeks battle it out on Saturday night at Boyne Oval. Brenda Strong

Final ladder mess

GLADSTONE’S First Division soccer competition has ended in utter confusion with the final standings unconfirmed and several teams uncertain of who, and even if, they will be playing in the finals next week.

An alleged early season discrepancy involving an ambiguous suspension ruling against a Central player has resulted in a potential ladder reshuffle, which would see Yaralla leapfrog Central into fourth place and Clinton possibly snare the minor premiership.

A Central official confirmed that Football Gladstone yesterday issued a letter to the club stripping them of competition points and had imposed a $300 fine for use of a suspended player in six games, despite having previously resolved the matter with the federation.

The spokesperson said that the players’ suspension was served in accordance with the federation’s ruling once the issue had been brought to their attention, and that the club would be lodging an appeal against the action.

“This was dealt with in a competition administrator meeting months ago,” the official said.

They also said that the club had sent a letter requesting the names of their suspended players at the start of the season in order to avoid such a conundrum but received no response from the federation to indicate that the player in question was ineligible.

Football Gladstone refused to comment on the matter, but the debacle has left several clubs unsure of their position heading in to the first week of the finals.

Based on the original ladder, BTFC’S 4-2 victory over Valleys should have secured them the minor premiership, while Central’s 2-1 win against Yaralla would have kept them in fourth, but that is likely to change depending on the reallocation of Central’s points.

Yaralla coach Warren Wales said that he had received word as early as Friday that his side would be unexpectedly playing finals football.

“The federation sent out a new ladder and Central had lost a lot of points so we ended up, according to the federation and its new ladder, in the top four pretty comfortably,” he said.

“That’s what we’ve been told and that’s what we’ll be training for.

“It’s not a nice way to get through, it would have been better to get through having earned it but the guys are pretty stoked.”

Clinton’s 4-1 thumping of bottom side United confirmed their place in the top two regardless of the competition dilemma, and they are now set to play BTFC in the major semi final.

Clinton’s Charlie Keenan continued his goal-scoring form with a hat-trick while Scott Rouse also found the back of the net.

“One of the best things in the last few weeks is that we’re starting to finish our chances; we were always creating them but didn’t have anyone to finish them and Charlie’s experience is just helping us out up front,” coach Neil Hamilton said.

In what was supposed to be a first place playoff, BTFC’S Paul Blomfield, Ashley King, Brandon Gillet and Dominic Tanner were all on the scoresheet in their 4-2 win over Valleys. Tanner set the tone for the win when he thumped a free kick into the top corner from 30 yards out to open the scoring for the home side.

BTFC coach Grant Nicholson said he was pleased with the way his side bounced back after a disappointing showing against Clinton last week. He said they would now head into their major semi clash with added conviction.

This was dealt with in a competition administrator meeting months ago



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