THE Greater Northern League says its hands were tied in the ruling that led to Launceston Olympic medallist Tim Deavin being unable to play for his home club Tamar Churinga.
However, that admission has not lessened the shock and confusion for the hockey star over the decision.
GNL convener Balt Vandenberg yesterday said that it was with ‘‘regret’’ that Deavin had been deemed ineligible to play for the club for the remainder of the season due to a ruling that states no players can enter the competition from another club in the last four weeks of the season.
Vandenberg said the rule, introduced mid-season, was accepted by all clubs, but would be re-worded at the end of the year to allow players such as Deavin to enter the competition late in the season.
‘‘The way we operate here is that you have a clearance from your last club and Tim has played five games for Hale [in Western Australia] and he would need a transfer from that club, and once we’ve got into the final four weeks of the roster, we couldn’t allow that,’’ Vandenberg said.
The ruling was activated by ladder-leader Devonport, looking to protect its position and secure a home final, after it objected to playing against Tamar Churinga with Deavin in it.
It believed playing against Deavin would damage this goal, despite the fact Tamar Churinga is on the bottom of the ladder.
But in some good news, this week’s game against Queechy, which also doubles as a Call to Arms fund-raiser, will be played for competition points [as long as Queechy agrees], after fears it would be deemed a forfeit with Deavin vowing to defy the ban and play anyway.
Despite the news yesterday, Deavin, a 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, world cup and Champions Trophy winner, admitted frustration about the ruling, which he said came ‘‘out of the blue’’, as he had not previously encountered any opposition on other trips home.
The decision still does not sit comfortably with Deavin, 30, despite finally receiving some form of clarification on the situation, and the fact this weekend’s match will be an ‘‘official’’ one after all.
He believes that as he hasn’t officially left Tamar Churinga – he is still a registered member of the club – and he does not feel he should be classified as a player who is transferring into the competition.
‘‘To be honest, I was pretty disappointed and shocked really, and to be honest I don’t really understand why that decision would be made,’’ Deavin said.
‘‘I am an eligible player [for this competition], so to not allow me to play because I could ‘alter the outcome of matches’ is a shame.
‘‘I believe, according to the rules, I am eligible to play.
‘‘I played the week before and would have the weekend before that if not for the bye, so this whole thing did come out of the blue.
‘‘I don’t blame the club [that complained], they’ve done the right thing by themselves, but it is surprising that the officials and governing body would come up with that result.’’
This weekend could be the last time Deavin plays for his original club, with commitments next season likely to keep him away from the state.
Saturday’s Call to Arms match at St Leonards starts at 4pm.