The Ocean Grove Football Club is one of ten clubs that form the Bellarine League. Two years ago they featured in an article in The Age regarding the crisis in rural and regional football leagues as the exception that may yet — unfortunately — prove the rule:
In growing areas such as the Surf Coast, country football is enjoying a renaissance.
Ocean Grove Football Club coach Damian Clark says he has 65 players battling it out for 40 senior positions each week. Morale is good, and the club is able to provide the community with a social hub.
“We’ve just got that many kids coming through, it’s out of control,” he says.
Speaking of good morale, community spirit and the crime of walking while Jewish:
Race hate attack
October 17, 2006
A JEWISH man was racially abused then bashed in front of his two young children by a busload of country footballers drunk after a day at the races.
Police are investigating the savage attack on Menachem Vorchheimer, 33, by players from the Ocean Grove Football Club.
About 20 footballers had just left Caulfield racecourse in a mini-bus.
Mr Vorchheimer said the men yelled “F— off Jews” and “Go the Nazis” before motioning as if they were shooting a machine gun at him and his children.
He told the Herald Sun his children, aged 6 and 3, were screaming and crying during the attack that left him with cuts and bruises to the face.
Witnesses surrounded the bus and stopped it from driving off until police arrived.
Ocean Grove Football Club president Michael Vines confirmed players from his club were involved in the incident.
“Like any sporting club at our level we expect our players to behave responsibly,” he said.
The trouble began when Mr Vorchheimer and his children were walking along Balaclava Rd, Caulfield, about 6.30pm on Saturday.
Mr Vorchheimer was wearing traditional Jewish dress including a shabbat hat and a yamulka, the skull cap worn by Jewish men.
As the minibus drove past, some of the players were laughing and yelling racist abuse.
When the bus stopped at a red light, Mr Vorchheimer went to the driver’s door.
“I wanted to find out where they were from so that… I could make approaches to that organisation,” he said.
But the bus driver appeared to ignore him and took off when the light turned green.
As the bus drove past, two men reached out the back window, grabbed Mr Vorchheimer’s hat and skull cap and hurled more abuse.
A driver who saw the incident pulled in front of the bus and stopped it.
Mr Vorchheimer said the men threw one of his hats out the bus window but when he asked for the other hat he was attacked.
“I was pulled toward the open window and then punched by a right hand into my left eye by a passenger on the bus. I fell back and was in enormous pain.”
Mr Vorchheimer said he felt blood running down his face as the men threw his other hat out the window.
“Meanwhile my kids are on the sidewalk crying and screaming,” he said.
He said witnesses surrounded the bus and stopped it from moving.
Mr Vorchheimer said he sat in front of the bus and said. “You’re not going ’til the police come.”
When St Kilda police arrived they took details from the footballers and witnesses. They confirmed the men had been to Caulfield races.
Mr Vorchheimer was treated at Cabrini Hospital. He said he had suffered headaches and nausea since the attack and his children had undergone counselling.
He said he had no doubt he was attacked because of his faith.
Caulfield MP Helen Shardey condemned the attack. She said the AFL needed to do more to educate footballers at all levels about behaviour.
Executive Council of Australian Jewry president Grahame Leonard said the attack was the fifth unprovoked assault on a member of the Jewish community in Victoria this year.
Confusingly, according to an article in The Australian, ‘Ocean Grove Football Club president Michael Vines said he did not know the circumstances of the attack but apologised and said the club took the allegations seriously. “If that did in fact occur, on behalf of the club I would apologise to him most sincerely,” he said on Southern Cross Radio today.’ While at the same time:
Club coach Matthew Sproule said Mr Vorchheimer’s hats were removed “accidentally” in a tussle through the bus window.
“The driver… did not know the person at the back had the hat. We realised the person was chasing us down the street for his hat. We pulled over and we put the hat to the side, then we got run off the road by another person who wouldn’t let us move after his hat was returned,” he said on Southern Cross Radio.
“We don’t know (who threw the punch) with all the commotion that was going on at the time.
“At the time the man in question asked for an apology and we gave an apology to him and he said, ‘No, it’s 10 seconds too late. I’m calling the police’.”
Twenty men vs. one man and two children; racist abuse and assault… and a coach who just wants to protect his ‘boys’.
Have ‘fun’ at the court hearing boys.
- “A team is where a boy can prove his courage on his own. A gang is where a coward goes to hide.” — Mickey Mantle