By Lance Jenkinson
The sanctuary of the playing field proved comforting for Deer Park at the end of a tough week for the Western Region Football League division 1 side.
The Lions have come under scrutiny for their adherence to the Allowable Player Payments (APP) stemming from the 2018 season.
The WRFL released a statement on Thursday, saying the Lions will have to answer charges for alleged breaches of the APP limit, providing false or misleading information and failing to disclose all payments.
The club will have the opportunity to explain its side of the story and challenge all the charges before the Player Payments Disciplinary Committee.
Any concerns over the APP information that was brought to life by the WRFL during the week had little impact on Deer Park’s on-field performance.
The Lions were breathtaking in their 86-point dismantling of St Albans at Kings Park Reserve.
Lions coach Marc Bullen said the players and coaches were well aware of the issue but had to get on with the task at hand.
“It’s obviously an elephant in the room,” Bullen said.
“All we can do is maintain our rage, continue to train well and to play well, and what will be will be.
“We’ll let the club deal with what they need to deal with and we’ve got to make sure we continue to win games and prep for another finals series.”
Deer Park was in control from start to finish in its massive win over St Albans.
Bullen stopped short of saying it was the Lions’ best win of the year, but it was right up there.
“Earlier in the year against Werribee Districts was definitely our best performance,” he said.
“To win the way we did was outstanding and positive signs heading into a finals series.”
Jack Redpath had a stand out game for Deer Park. The key forward kicked seven goals before he retreated to the bench with a shoulder injury in the third quarter and did not return.
“He played a little bit closer to goal today and when we put it out in front of him, he’s pretty hard to stop,” Bullen said.
Deer Park kicked 24 goals to produce a cricket score in a game when league-leading goalkicker Jase Perkins was unavailable.
Some of the firepower was provided by Chris Stewart, who kicked five goals, and James Wong, who added four.
With Perkins set to return next week, Bullen has four more quarters of football to find the right dynamic in his forward line, which has been a season-long quandary.
“We’ll just continue to put time into the guys and work out what the best structure and system is,” Bullen said.
Scott Greenhough was best-on-ground in the ruck for Deer Park.
Jeremy Mills was strong in-close, while Spiros Amarantidis and Will Krithararis impressed with their exploits around the contests.
Tim Quick was solid down back.
Deer Park can seal a finals double chance with a win over Point Cook in the final round at John McLeod Oval on Saturday.
In other division 1 games, Caroline Springs suffered a 107-point thrashing at the hands of Werribee Districts, Sunshine lost to Hoppers Crossing by 51-points and Albion had its heaviest loss of the season to Altona by 243.
In division 3, Sunshine Heights moved into the double chance position one week out from the finals with a 31-point win over Glen Orden.
Albanvale edged closer to the minor premiership with a 71-point win over Braybrook, while North Sunshine went down by 109 points to Tarneit.