Criminal charges could follow a brawl during a Tallangatta and District Football League reserves match on Saturday in which a player was kicked in the eye.
Dederang-Mount Beauty’s David Cooper is lucky to have his eyesight after copping a boot to his eye socket, allegedly by a Mitta United opponent.
Dederang-Mount Beauty president Doug Connors said Mr Cooper was “feeling pretty sore and sorry” at home after treatment at Wodonga Hospital, the Border Mail reports.
He has several stitches and a lot of bruising.
Mr Connors and Mitta United president Mac Paton were reluctant to comment, except to say melees weren’t part of the game.
“It’s not part of the game but things happen in the heat of the moment,” Mr Paton said.
“Luckily there’s very few of these incidents these days.
“We certainly don’t condone anything but playing football.”
Dederang police’s Leading Senior Constable Craig Lee said police had gone to the ground after calls from Ambulance Victoria and spectators.
It is believed there was a “bit of push and shove” behind play after Mr Cooper, of Running Creek, and a Mitta player were involved in a contest and it escalated to a melee involving at least a dozen players.
Mr Cooper reportedly was at the bottom of the pack when he was kicked.
He later said he believed it was a deliberate act.
Senior Constable Lee said police wanted to hear from anyone who could shed light on the incident.
“We’ve spoken to spectators and all the players to try to find out what happened,” he said.
“It’s a serious injury so we need to make sure it’s not intentional.
“Conduct is a big thing in footy these days — it could have been nothing worth talking about but the boot takes it up a notch.”
Mr Paton said it was up to police to investigate.
“When there’s 20 people in a heap, how could anyone accuse anyone of anything?” he said.
“It could have been anyone’s boot.”
Senior Constable Lee can be contacted on 0400 408 680.