Match Report - RON O'NEILL PUNCHED AS HE LEAVES WHITTON GROUND: FIERY GAME
By JACK LUHRS
Griffith coach Ron O'Neill was assaulted by a spectator as he left the field at Whitton after Sunday's South West League match.
O'Neill spearheaded his side to a 19-16 (130) to 10-10 (70) win by booting nine goals to take his tally to 27 in four matches.
Amid a group of players and supporters O'Neill was struck as he entered the players race outside the dressing rooms.
Bleeding profusely from wounds to his face, O'Neill was carried by Griffith players into the dressing room to receive attention from trainers.
Following the assault on O'Neill, players and spectators jostled each other outside the change rooms.
The Whitton police were immediately contacted by phone from the oval following the incident. It is understood charges will be made.
With O'Neill prostrate on the table within the rooms, Whitton coach Bob Little entered and spoke to the Griffith players and officials. Showing emotion and concern, Little stated he was upset by the incident.
O'Neill later was taken by car to the Griffith Hospital.
Earlier an ugly flare-up between a big group of players in front of the Griffith goal in the third quarter delayed the game for several minutes.
The incident and attack on O'Neill are clear causes where club administrators must seriously consider the positioning of police at matches.
Football is a heavy contact game and its inevitable tempers amongst players will cause flare-ups but when spectators become involved as happened in the third quarter brawl at Whitton, police control appears as the only alternative.
The Griffith victory was highlighted by brilliant displays from Kevin Kirkpatrick and Geoff Martin in addition to O'Neill's clever goal getting.
Already with John Higgins unavailable for selection through injury, Griffith received a setback when John Foley and Roger Thom withdrew. Foley was hurt in an accident on the farm whilst uncompleted wheat sowing operations prevented Roger Thom from appearing.
Geoff Martin opened on the flank but when switched to centre half forward early in the game, he and John Scott and Angelo Maloni completed a winning half forward line. Both Scott and Maloni were in deadly form to joint Griffith's best players group.
Martin kicked two goals, Scott three and Maloni one, however, the forwards jobs were made easier by the dash of Kirkpatrick in the centre. Cleverly opening up the play, Kirkpatrick had a hand in almost every scoring chance.
Griffith fullback Phil Smith played strongly until injured in the third quarter. With Smith off the ground the Swans moved Frank Conlan to full-back where he continued to play well. Earlier Conlan figured in a well-knit Griffith defence that did much to force the Whitton attack into kicking errors.
Best player afield was Whitton skipper Bob Little. Whether in the ruck, centre half forward or in defence, Little dominated for long sessions.
Aside from Bob Little, the Tigers had excellent service from Bill Aliendi, Bob Thompson, Jock Kenny, Bruce Lang and Brian Brown. Until they faded in the final term, the Tigers produced a high standard game that makes it difficult to understand why they have yet to win this season.
The Area News - Monday May 6, 1968