Dean Harding fined by O and M over umpire comments

FINED: Wodonga coach Dean Harding has been fined by the O and M for his comments on umpires after the loss to Wodonga Raiders.
FINED: Wodonga coach Dean Harding has been fined by the O and M for his comments on umpires after the loss to Wodonga Raiders.

Wodonga coach Dean Harding has been fined after he labelled the decision to send off ruckman Matt Seiter in the final term against Wodonga Raiders as “ridiculous”.

Harding has been slugged $1000, with half of that suspended until the end of the 2018 season.

The Bulldogs’ mentor will step down from his role at the end of this year, with development coach Zac Fulford to take over.

Harding was found in breach of a league bylaw in relation to officials, coaches and players engaging in public comment on umpires.

It followed the Bulldogs’ eight-point loss to Raiders on July 1.

“It’s a free kick but to send someone off and lose someone for that length of time is ridiculous,” Harding told The Border Mail.

“It’s a tough job, everyone makes mistakes, our players make mistakes all the time.

“With umpires, obviously they get out of form and if they get out of form, they need to look at their form.”

Seiter was charged with striking Raiders’ Tom McCaffrey at the 11-minute mark.

Wodonga ended up losing by 28 points.

Seiter was then found not guilty at the tribunal.

“Umpires provide a wonderful service to our game and the O and M is fully supportive of the development programs in place to continuously improve the standard of umpiring across the region,” O and M general manager Sean Barrett said.

“Our coaches and officials understand that public comment on umpiring will not be tolerated and, in this case, Dean has overstepped the mark with his comments.”