The JDG will today unveil a new campaign making it compulsory for all affiliated clubs in the national competition — including the Brisbane Bolts — to undertake gender sensitivity training for all players.
Acting JDG chair Doug “Leaky” Bowel said clubs refusing to implement the new training — to be delivered in partnership with the RSPCA — would face financial penalties or exclusion from the competition.
“We will slug recalcitrant clubs with huge fines or we’ll kick them out of the competition,” Mr Bowel said. “The JDG board is of the clear view that we must act now or else face losing public confidence in our game.
“Players accused of animal acts where the penalty includes jail time of 11 years or more will be banned from the competition until they are invariably found guilty in a court of law.
“The presumption of innocence is very dear to us and we are not prejudging guilt in any way …. oh, fuck it, who are we trying to kid; of course we are …. the spate of off-season scandals involving animals meant we had to act.
“That these incidents have largely involved just one gender is of enormous concern to our sport’s administrators.”
It is believed Mr Bowel was referring to shocking video made public during the off-season showing a drunken player from the Southern Highlands Septics simulating sexual intercourse with a fully grown male wombat he had found as roadkill on the Bright-Falls Creek road.
Mr Bowel said the gender sensitivity training would consist of a 12-week course to instill respect for animals of both genders among players at all levels.
“Unfortunately our game has suffered adverse publicity over the years through incidents involving high-profile players and their, shall I say, dalliances with animals including domestic, farm, and wild varieties,” he said.
“Many of these have occurred during or after over-exuberant victory celebrations among players, or indeed after or during events that followed a team losing a big match.
“We hope the new training, designed and conducted with RSPCA input, will give players a better understanding of the rights of animals and the respect they should be shown,” Mr Bowel said.
When asked if the JDG would undertake similar educational efforts to ensure players respected human females Mr Bowel was frank.
“Oh fuck no,” he said. “That boat sailed years ago. We’ve tried, but we’re totally fucked on that front.”
General manager of the Brisbane Bolts, Terry Verandah, could not be contacted for comment, but a voice message on his mobile phone said: “If youse are some low-life reptile calling from the media about the dog rooting stuff you can go shit in both your hands and clap.”
Head coach of the Bolts, Jack Saunders, said he was aware of past incidents with animals involving his players.
“But it’s just a bit of hi-jinks – just some good natured horseplay,” Saunders said, “and I mean that quite literally in some cases.”
Disclaimer: The Bug is an official sponsor of the Brisbane Bolts.