HORSHAM District Football Netball League has suspended Laharum’s Robbie Miller for racially abusing an opponent.
The incident occurred during the second quarter of a match at Cameron Oval between Laharum and Natimuk United on June 7, and has been the subject of a league investigation.
Miller was suspended by a league tribunal on Wednesday night.
He received a six-match suspension, with four of the matches suspended for 12 months.
He was omitted from the Laharum side that thumped Noradjuha-Quantong by 143 points on Saturday.
Miller will also miss Saturday’s match against Taylors Lake, and will be suspended for a further four games if he is found guilty of any vilification offence in the next 12 months.
Laharum coach Shannon Argall said the club accepted Miller had done the wrong thing and was now concentrating on putting the matter behind it.
“We have spoken about it as a club and from our perspective it is done and dusted now,” he said.
“We support the tribunal in its measures, and for us it’s about getting back to football now.
“Judging by Robbie’s reaction at training on Thursday night, he’s very determined to get back to playing football and making a contribution to the team.”
Argall said Miller had shown remorse for his actions.
“He’s really committed to earning some respect back and getting back to doing what he does best – playing good hard footy,” he said.
Miller was on the sidelines at Quantong on Saturday.
“He’s doing a great job. He was really supportive of the team,” Argall said.
“He’s really taken it on the chin and is looking forward to getting back out there.”
Natimuk United coach Tim Friend said he did not think the suspension went far enough.
“It’s not a very strong stance at all,” he said.
“The league could have made a stand, but it looks as if they condone it now.
“If he is guilty – and he is if he has been suspended – then a minimum of four would have been better than two.”
Laharum vice-chairman Cameron Mibus confirmed a Mountain Men player had been suspended, but was unable to name him because of his involvement in the investigation.
“The person from our club who was charged has been given a two-week suspension with another four weeks if he is reported again in the next 12 months,” he said.
“The club and the player involved have co-operated with the league in every possible way to resolve this issue.”
AFL Victoria’s vilification and discrimination policy requires confidentiality from all parties involved in an official complaint.
The league must also keep any documents relating to a complaint confidential for seven years from the date that the complaint was made.
Horsham District Football Netball League chairman Graeme King said he could not recall another case of a player being found guilty of having racially abused an opponent during his time with the league.
In an AFL case in June 2011, former Western Bulldogs and Brisbane Lions player Justin Sherman was suspended for four matches and fined $5000 for racially abusing Gold Coast opponent Joel Wilkinson.