Local Footy: Bordonaro in the clear but on the outer

By Paul Daffey

Joe Bordonaro, the Mirboo North reserves player who last month was suspended for five years for tampering with umpires’ best-and-fairest vote cards, is not expected to play in his team’s grand final this Saturday despite having his sentence overturned.

The Victorian Country Football League appeals board overturned Bordonaro’s sentence on Monday night after effectively giving him the benefit of the doubt. While it was clear that the vote cards had been tampered with, the appeals board decided it was unable to rule who did it.

Bordonaro’s lawyer, Garry Woodhams, said that Bordonaro would not make himself available for the team to play in the Mid-Gippsland Football League reserves grand final because it would be too much of a distraction for his teammates.

He said Bordonaro, 38, was yet to play in a grand final after 20 years of senior and reserves football.

Bordonaro, who works in the demolition industry in the Traralgon area, has won the Mid-Gippsland league reserves best-and-fairest award three times in recent years. He won last year’s award with 32 votes while the second place-getter, Trafalgar’s Cohen Lee, scored 18.

Early last month Channel 9 showed footage of Bordonaro allegedly removing umpires’ vote-cards from their envelopes in the Mirboo North secretary’s office. He then seemed to alter the cards and return them to their envelopes.

It’s been revealed that some umpires’ cards from Mirboo North reserves games have been altered with Liquid Paper. Bordonaro’s name has been written over the Liquid Paper.

The footage that Channel 9 showed was shot by the Mirboo North Football Club and handed over to the Mid-Gippsland Football League. The league’s tribunal suspended Bordonaro for five years.

Mirboo North and Morwell East will play in the Mid-Gippsland league’s reserves grand final at Moe on Saturday. The result of the league’s reserves best-and-fairest vote count will be announced before the match.

Trafalgar and Morwell East will play in the Mid-Gippsland seniors grand final.

Mirboo North president Andrew Taylor last night refused to comment.


  1. Presumably he’d only slept for a half an hour and was only joking.
    Worse, of course, will happen when women start playing for North and use nail-polish remover to delete his whole career.
    Big issues these.

  2. What if Bordonaro wins the B & F? What then?

  3. Sorry, Gezza,

    I don’t know.

    But I suspect he won’t.

  4. Nice article in The Age today, Daff. On the Warrnambool District League Grand Final last Saturday – did this match represent the takeover of the WDL by the Heytesbury?

    As you know the Mt Noorat League disappeared in the 90s (it probably hadn’t really been viable since the 70s)and its surviving teams went into the Heytesbury League. I think Kolora-Noorat is probably the last survivor of Mt Noorat.

    More recently, as football declined in the Otways the Heytesbury League disolved with its Eastern teams going to Colac and its Western teams (including Timboon) going to Warrnambool.

    I think this is the first WDL Grand Final with no teams from either Warrnambool city or the small towns that have belonged to the WDL for over thirty years.

  5. Dave,

    I think the Mount Noorat league dissolved in about 1993. What I love is the title of the book of the league’s history, Playing Footy and Milking Cows.

    Kolora, Noorat and Woorndoo are the only surviving clubs from the Mount Noorat league, but none in their original form.

    Kolora and Noorat combined in 2002, after the demise of the Heytesbury-Mount Noorat league, and went into the WDFL along with the Timboon Demons (a combo of Timboon and Heytesbury).

    Woorndoo have a strange union with Mortlake and muddle around the bottom of the ladder in the Mininera District league.

    Timboon Demons defeated Kolora-Noorat in the WDFL grand final last year, so this year is not the first time that two country (non-Warrnambool) clubs have played in the grand final, but it’s significant nonetheless.

    Of the 12 WDFL clubs, only three are from outside Warrnambool, as far as I can tell. The other one is Nirranda. The country clubs are going through a purple patch.

    Click on the In the Sheds column on this site and then click on the “rainbow” link if you want to see pics from Saturday’s grand final.

  6. Four country clubs – Panmure is on the Princes, halfway between Warrnambool and Terang. Dennington and Allansford are effectively suburbs of Warrnambool but they were not when they were admitted to the League.

    What I find interesting is that all four “country” clubs are East of Warrnambool. When I moved to Warrnambool in 1983 there were also four “country” clubs but they were all to the West or North of Warrnambool. Grassmere and Bushfield which amalgamated to form Northern Districts then joined the Hampden League as North Warrnambool, and Tower Hill and Yambuk – both of which disbanded (1983 was Tower Hill’s last year)

  7. Dave,

    You’re right about Panmure. I’ve driven through it (doesn’t take long) often enough to know that it’s not in Warrnambool.

    And you’re right that I was classing Allansford and Dennington as Warrnambool clubs because the suburbs have caught up with them.

    Have a look at the refurbished, almost boutique grandstand at Allansford if you get a chance. People, especially kids, just love sitting in it. It’s a classic.

    Plenty of clubs to the west of Warrnambool have disbanded. Bessiebelle is another one. There was a Port Fairy and District footy league for many years. Tower Hill, Yambuk, Bessiebelle, etc. played in it.

    Oddly enough, the Tower Hill footy club would be thriving if it were still alive. Nearby Koroit is a growing town, as you might have noticed from the fact that the footy club is rarely out of the top three in the Hampden league these days.

    Just won through to the grand final on Saturday in fact when they unexpectedly beat Terang-Mortlake (Mortlake is somehow united with two clubs) in the second semi-final.

    Public servants, teachers, etc. are choosing to live in Koroit and drive the ten kilometres into Warrnambool for work. I reckon it’s a good idea. Koroit is one of my favourite towns.

  8. Koroit is indeed a popular town with Warrnambool residents. I knew Warrnambool Institute academics who lived in Koroit when I worked there. It was a funny mixture of Australian and Irish culture. In the 1980s Mickey Burke’s pub in Koroit was the only place in Victoria, apart from the Celtic Club which served green beer on St Patrick’s day.

    I suspect however that Tower Hill players were more likely to be dairy and spud farmers’ sons from Killarney and Illowa, than white collar workers or academics from Koriot and Warrnambool.

  9. Rocket Rod Gillett says


    Doesn’t the vote tampering by Bordonaro tamper his previous league best and fairest awards?

    Meanwhile can David can slay the Giant in the nearby Alberton Football League grand final?
    Stony Creek would achieve a fairy-tale story if they can knock off the combined Wonthaggi clubs (Blues and Rovers now appropriately called the Power). Great to see that Stony are still called the Maroons as they were when my father played for them in the late 1940’s.

    Surely if Wonthaggi win its time for them to go and play somebody more their size!


  10. Rocket,

    It certainly casts doubt on his previous BF awards but I don’t see how the league could possibly take them back. They’ll just have to accept what’s happened, especially given the VCFL appeals board ruling that gives Bordonaro the benefit of the doubt.

    I hope Stony Creek win the Alberton GF but I’m not sure about the likelihood. Fellow Almanacker Adam McNicol wrote a story on Stony Creek for The Sunday Age a few weeks ago.

    Wonthaggi seem intent on staying in the Alberton league but if they do so most of the other clubs will simply leave and form a league of their own. It’s untenable to have a town of 8000 fielding one club against villages like Fish Creek and Stony Creek, which have a couple of hundred people.

  11. I did some research on Gippsland footy last year (which still neeeds more work)in the course of which I talked to several people connected with the Alberton League. I suspect even John Brumby and his desalination plant are less in unpopular in South Gippsland than Wonthaggi Power.

  12. I think you’re right, Dave. South Gippsland people loathe the selfishness of the Wonthaggi footy people, and rightly so.

    I just got word this morning that Wonthaggi look like gritting their teeth and taking their place in the newly named Gippsland Football League. Very glad to hear it.

    To digress, I’m glad the premier comp in the region is to be known as the Gippsland Football League.

    I understand why it’s been called the West Gippsland Latrobe league (combination of the West Gippsland and Latrobe leagues into one) but it just makes so much sense to stamp it as the premier competition for the entire region.

  13. Hi Paul

    Is it true Bordonaro is taking legal action against his club? What is the feeling around town towards him? Clearly everyone knows he did the tampering and he surely lost a lot of respect and friendships. His wife must be thrilled..!


  14. Gezza,

    There was a whisper that he would sue Channel 9 but his lawyer said he was unaware of such plans.

    Not sure whether he plans to sue the club but his lawyer certainly didn’t indicate any such plans.

    Would what he sue them for?

    Not likely to find out off the club because they’ve gone completely to ground. The president is quite aggressive in his unwillingness to comment.

    Can’t say I blame him. No one takes on the role of president of a country footy club expecting to have to deal with the national media. It’s just not something they’re equipped to do.

    The VCFL tries to advise clubs under siege in their media relations but they can do only so much.

    I imagine Joe would be having a very hard time at the moment. His wife would be most unpleased!

  15. Rocket Rod Gillett says

    Good to hear that Wonthaggi are slated for the ‘new’ Gippsland Football League – maybe Bairnsdale need to come back into it too?

    Meanwhile strong interest in our schools here in Abu Dhabi in the Alberton League grand final – in the ranks are an ex Phillip Island coach, an ex Korumburra High School principal, a drama teacher whose brother is playing in the game for Wonthaggi, and a son of a former Stony Creek ‘great’.

    Needless to say, popular setiment – just like it is in South Gippsland, is for Stony to win.

    Daff, will you be crossing to Foster in your ABC Radio country footy program on Saturday afternoon for score updates?

  16. Yes, Rocket,

    We’re crossing to Stony Creek president Greg Burge. Adam McNicol recommends him as a ripper fella.

    Greg was under the pump yesterday. As well as his club being in its first grand final for 26 years, they’ve got catering rights for the grand final for the first time in a while. “It comes around once every 14 years,” he said. “Just happened to be on the day that we’ve got our first grand final in ages!

    “Just adds to the excitement, I suppose.”

    Also crossing to Bill Walker at Ulverstone, Daryl Sharpen at Oatlands, Cath D’Ellia at Dookie, Damian Melican at Colac, Almanacker Craig Little at St Bernard’s, Rob Morrice at St Bermard’s and Michael Irons at the Maher Oval in Wagga.

    I see the Hume league prelim is on today, with the mighty Osborne already through to the grand final at Walbundrie next week. Tommy Hanlon has been in touch with Old Man Schneider in Osborne this week because he’s writing a piece on Adam for The Age.

    “Hang on a sec and I’ll turn off the tractor,” said Mr Schneider.

    Adam played in premierships with Osborne at 15, 16 and 17.

    “Actually, he hasn’t missed a finals series since he was 8,” said the old man.

    Tommy’s intro was sorted out straight away.

  17. OK Paul, last question on Bordonaro. Who won the reserves B & F ( League and Mirboo )and how many votes did ‘vote magnet’ Joe get.


  18. Gezza,

    Morwell East 14.2 (86) defeated Mirboo North 10.11 (71) in the Mid Gippsland reserves grand final on Saturday. (Great kicking in a shocking wind.)

    Rohan Bounds, the Yallourn-Yallourn North reserves coach as well as club president, won the Mid Gippsland reserves best-and-fairest award (the Joe Redmond award).Bounds polled 16 votes to win fom Yinnar’s Ken Hutchinson on 12.

    Not sure how many Joe Bordonaro scored.

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