BACK in mid-1993 the BFL independent tribunal sat for more than four hours to hear cases involving two North Bendigo players.
Dean Lupson and David Keogh were eventually scrubbed for eight and three matches respectively on charges of alleged abusive and threatening behaviour against umpires.
Central umpires Geoff Millar and Garry Goudge relayed the colourful language used by the players, especially Fitzroy’s AFL six-gamer Lupson, to the tribunal.
It was claimed during the lengthy hearing that after the Queen’s Birthday holiday Monday game against Kangaroo Flat, Lupson had approached the centrals and boundary umpires outside the North change rooms.
In their statements to the Tribunal umpires alleged Lupson approached Millar and said: ”Have a shower, get your clothes on and come out the back – I’ll fix you up.”
Then the Tribunal heard Lupson actually lunged at Millar and had to be physically restrained by a Bulldog teammate.
Lupson was said to have used a string of obscene words towards the central man-in-white.
Umpire Millar said: “I felt very threatened for my own safety. I actually felt physically scared.”
LUPSON, who was represented at the hearing by renowned AFL player advocate Iain Findlay, told the Tribunal he was certain various umpiring decisions had penalised North and handed the result to the Roos.
“In my opinion I was sure we had lost the game on a number of bad umpiring decisions.
“I thought I had something valid to say.”
The former AFL Lions player claimed what he had said outside the umpiring change rooms was more like: “You wouldn’t know how to umpire a game.
“You get changed and I’ll see you out here later.”
Lupson further alleged Millar had countered with: “Are you threatening me?”
Lupson said he’d replied: “No I’m not threatening you.” He then added he was restrained by a Bulldogs’ teammate because he was trying to clear up the matter.
Millar responding to a question from Mr. Findlay stated that he, Goudge, goal umpire Maurie McDonald and the other umpires “were all worried about our own safety.
“We named the players, did our paperwork and spoke about the reports. It was pretty hairy.”
Lupson’s charge sheet read that on two counts he’d used abusive language towards an umpire plus two other counts of allegedly behaving in a threatening manner towards an umpire were also filed.
KEOGH had been charged by goalie McDonald for allegedly threatening an umpire.
In his evidence during the first case of the marathon sitting McDonald said Keogh had grabbed his glasses and allegedly threatened him as he signalled a goal.
The North Bendigo wingman said he’d been struck on the shoulder by the wood of the goal flags and was merely responding.
The Tribunal wasn’t swayed by Keogh’s evidence and scrubbed him for three matches.
I sat in for about two-thirds of the lengthy Thursday evening hearing, only ducking back to the Addy offices by deadline time to file the front and back page Tribunal stories.
When the Friday paper went to press the Tribunal was still deliberating on the Lupson case so North could name only a ‘from’ side for the upcoming BFL match against Sandhurst.
Keogh’s and Lupson’s names were listed in the Bulldogs’ 22-man squad with selectors having to delete the two suspended players well before match-time on the Saturday.
Incidentally, the Independent Tribunal chairman did not hand down his decision in the Lupson case until 1.40 am on that fateful Friday: June 18th, 1993.
FITZROY had been alerted to the talents of Castlemaine half-back Tom Kavanagh by astute footy judge Stan Leahy.
Leahy had coached Golden Square to the 1992 grand final and by the following season was a talent spotter for the then AFL Lions.
“I did recommend 23-year-old Tommy to the Roys,” Leahy told the Advertiser.
“I see a lot of games for Fitzroy. They designate games, or particular players they want me to view, and there’s a lot of Victorian State F.L. under-18 fixtures they are keen for me to see,” Leahy said.
What had alerted the Fitzroy talent spotters to Kavanagh was his outstanding high-marking game in the 1992 BFL grand final.
“Since last September they’ve followed his progress very closely. The Fitzroy recruiting officials believe Tommy’s a ready-made AFL footballer.
“After all, he played at least one senior match – maybe two matches -- with Melbourne back when he was drafted before in 1989,” said Leahy.
SO by mid-year in 1993 the focus was squarely on the Maine’s Kavanagh, son of former Carlton and North Melbourne star, Brent Crosswell.
The Lions had picked him up in the ’93 mid-season draft on June 16th that season.
Leahy described Kavanagh as an “enigmatic player.”
“He’s very difficult to counter as we at the Square found out in last year’s QEO grand final,” said Leahy.
“We had to map out strategies to deal with him. You’re never exactly sure what he’s going to do as he’s such a fine athlete.
“That’s what made it so hard for Square to counter.”
Leahy was a long-time personal friend of Castlemaine premiership coach Matt Scully and said “Tommy will go to Fitzroy with the ‘Maine’s blessing.”
Neville Stibbard, Fitzroy’s national recruiting officer, in conjunction with his match committee, had the final say about which players were drafted: mid-year and end-of-year.
SPEAKING of Fitzroy, the Lions played an AFL Country Day game at the QEO 21 months later.
It was mid-March in 1995 and they downed the then Brisbane Bears by 12 points, setting up the win with more efficient use of the swirling breeze favouring the Barnard Street end goals.
An enormous crowd paying $10,937 at the gate watched the Bears kick four of the last five goals of the day but they’d given the Roy Boys too big a start.
This led Brisbane coach Robert Walls to lament that his players “hadn’t won enough one-on-one contests, let alone two-on-two.”
Veteran Doug Hawkins, a Footscray legend who’d made a late career switch of clubs, ran on for Fitzroy in the second half.
Chris Johnson booted four goals for Fitzroy while current Geelong coach Chris Scott and Alistair Lynch each bagged two second-term majors for the Bears.
Fitzroy 16.18 (114) d. Brisbane 15.12 (102).
Round 9 selections: Strath Storm, South Bendigo, G. Square, Eaglehawk and Sandhurst.
By Richard Jones