Local Footy: Player caught tampering with umpires’ votes

The Mid-Gippsland Football League is in shock after the revelation that one of its most respected members, Mirboo North reserves player Joe Bordonaro, has been filmed tampering with the umpires’ votes for the reserves competition’s best-and-fairest award.

Bordonaro, a 38-year-old who works in the demolition industry in the Traralgon area, has won three best-and-fairest awards in the Mid-Gippsland reserves competition in recent years. He won last year’s reserves best-and-fairest count with 32 votes; second was Trafalgar’s Cohan Lee on 18.

The Mid-Gippsland league tribunal found Bordonaro guilty of conduct unbecoming at a hearing on Tuesday night and suspended him for five years. Bordonaro last night contacted The Age through his lawyer, Garry Woodhams, to say that he’d done nothing wrong and that he would be lodging an appeal against his suspension today.

The suspension prohibits him from playing in all Victorian football competitions.

The story was the lead item on Channel 9’s six o’clock news bulletin. Footage was shown of Bordonaro allegedly tampering with umpires’ votes. The footage had been taken by the Mirboo North Football Club.

After every game at every level in footy throughout Australia, umpires write down their 3-2-1 votes for the best-and-fairest award and seal the voting slip in an envelope that is passed on to a home-club representative. That representative then passes on the envelope to the competition secretary, who puts the envelope in safe keeping until it’s brought out with all the envelopes to be counted towards the competition best-and-fairest award.

Rod Lucas, the Mid-Gippsland league secretary, last night told The Age that he noticed after a recent day of footy at Mirboo North that the envelope bearing the umpire’s votes for the reserves match had been torn and opened. When he questioned the reserves umpire about it, the umpire said he had re-opened the envelope because he thought he had forgotten to write down the players’ club beside their names.

When Lucas showed the umpire the actual voting slip, the umpire said those were not the votes he had cast. The voting slip had had Liquid Paper applied to it and names written over the whited-out area.

Bordonaro had been awarded been two votes accorded to the voting slip. The umpire told Lucas that he did not give Bordonaro those votes.

Lucas went back through the envelopes for all reserves matches played at Mirboo North this season. Envelopes showed signs of having been opened and resealed.

He told Mirboo North Football Club officials. It’s believed that the football club set up a camera in its club secretary’s office. After a recent reserves match, Bordonaro was filmed entering the secretary’s office and opening the envelope bearing the umpire’s votes.

Lucas said Bordonaro was well-respected in the Mid-Gippsland football community. He has coached the Mirboo North reserves and played with rival club Boolarra.

Mirboo North president Andrew Taylor last night was in the process of drafting a media release with his committee when contacted by The Age. Taylor would say nothing beyond what was about to be released other than the club would not condemn Bordonaro.

“We’re trying to support him,” the president said.


  1. Josh Barnstable says

    My friend and I were trying to find a story on this today in the newspapers but couldn’t find one. My friend thought it was his league’s best and fairest (Picola North West) that was rigged and he thought he might have won it because he came third. Haha

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