Werribee Districts rebuke Chinese whispers

Werribee Districts forward Andrew Panayi has made the final cut for the WRFL interleague team. Picture Damian Visentini

Werribee Districts vice-president Rod Harrington has dismissed rumours that two members of his senior team came to blows following a recent loss to Deer Park in Western Region Football League division 1.

The Tigers went back to their clubrooms after the May 7 game for break-up drinks before two weekends away from the field of battle thanks to the bye and an interleague game.

Harrington told Star Weekly it was nothing more than “a couple of blokes mucking around and having a wrestle” and that it was all good-natured.

“The players had a good time,” he said. “There was no altercation, but boys were being boys – they had a roll around the floor and had a laugh.

“All of a sudden, it’s Chinese whispers and it’s turned a friendly roll-around into a civil war.

“Nothing happened and I can’t be any more explicit than that.”

Werribee Districts went into its lengthy break with a solid 3-2 record.

There was heightened interest in how the Tigers would go against three-peat premier Deer Park, particularly after their heavy loss in last year’s grand final at the hands of the same club.

They showed no scars from last September, with the Tigers producing a good brand of football, only to fall frustratingly short because of poor conversion for goal.

“We’re a different team to last year,” Harrington said.

“There were eight guys on Saturday who didn’t play in last year’s grand final and we’ve got another five guys to come into that team. So there will be 13 who didn’t play in last year’s grand final.

“We’ve got a new coach and different structures. It’s probably only us committee people and supporters still having nightmares over last year.”

Paul Chapman has been embraced by the Werribee Districts players in his first year as a senior coach.

The former Geelong champion is still bedding down his game style and it will take time for it all to click into place.

“First half of the season, there’s always early teething issues with everyone getting to know the game plan and working with each other,” Harrington said.

Chapman remains undecided whether he will play for Werribee Districts this season. The Tigers won’t be putting any pressure on the triple AFL premiership player to make a quick decision.

“We’d love him to play and hope that itch gets stronger,” Harrington said.

“He gets there before everybody and does his own stuff and keeps himself fit, and he’s starting to join in the training a bit.”

The Tigers have three players in the WRFL interleague senior team: Andrew Panayi, Rhyce Prismall and Joe Halloran.

Gavin Donnan, Mitch Huxtable and Jack Tessari have been selected in the under-19 side.