THE Wimmera football community has reacted to calls for the introduction of a mercy rule within senior football ranks.
The Horsham District and Wimmera leagues have utilised a mercy rule in junior football since 2013, capping the maximum winning margin for under-14s at 60 points and under-17s at 72 points.
The teams play out the full game, but all scoring beyond these limits is not counted.
Laharum chairman Tim Nagorcka said a mercy rule in senior football was something to be considered, after his side's 312 point loss to Harrow-Balmoral at the weekend.
"I think that the Horsham District league, the AFL or the VCFL seriously have to look at bringing in some mercy rules if the leagues aren't going to even themselves out," he said.
"Nobody likes going to a game of footy and watching a game like that, where it is just so one-sided it's not funny."
AFL Wimmera-Mallee's regional manager Bruce Petering said while there were clear positives of a mercy rule in junior football, he wasn't sure it would have the same effect at senior level.
"It's something we have never considered, or the commission has ever looked at," Mr Petering said.
"One of the great things about the mercy rule is to provide an equalisation method so kids can enjoy their footy rather, than getting beaten mercilessly. Senior football is completely different.
"Are we going to get the same benefits from a rule like that in senior football? Is it going to do anything positive for the game itself? Or for the clubs long term?"
Mr Petering said AFL Wimmera-Mallee would continue to support struggling clubs in a different way.
"With all things like this, we'd say nothing is off the table ... but I think there are other mechanisms to help senior clubs," he said.
"Our focus is, instead, on building the capacity of the club. There are swings and roundabouts at a lot of clubs - they go up, and they go down. What we want to see, and want to help, is more consistency at clubs."
Harrow-Balmoral president Rosemary Langley said she was open to the idea of senior football adopting a mercy rule.
"It works very well with the juniors, so it's one of those things where you never say never. It's something that could be looked at," she said.
Mrs Langley said it was about changing perception.
"It is just a tradition thing, and it used to be like that with the juniors - nobody likes change," she said.
"But you never know when you're going to be the club in need of some help. It's about what is best for the clubs."
AFL Wimmera-Mallee's Stephen McQueen said there was hesitance among clubs when the junior rule was introduced.
"Initially, it wasn't very well received - especially by people that had been around football for a long time," he said.
"But certainly in the last couple of seasons, clubs have come around."
Harrow-Balmoral playing-coach Nick Pekin said he would be open to the idea of a mercy rule in senior football for the most lopsided contests.
"I'd be all for it. We as a playing group felt sorry for the Laharum boys," Pekin said.
"I've never been involved in a defeat of that margin before. I hope it never comes to that again for anyone."
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