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How nine seconds of madness almost killed the Glen Waverley Football Club

A bet between two teammates set off a chain of events which divided a community, ruined friendships and made headlines around the world. This is the inside story.

Scott GullanScott Gullan



5 min read

November 30, 2022 - 12:00PM

News Corp Australia Sports Newsroom12 comments


Horrible Mad…

It was the nine seconds of madness which almost killed a football club.
A bet between Glen Waverley Football Club teammates set off a chain of events which divided a community, ruined friendships and made headlines around the world.

The post season Sunday afternoon celebrations for the Division 3 Eastern Football Netball League team were held at the popular Mountain View Hotel, a sponsor of the club.

There was a dress-up theme and most of the senior playing group and coaching staff were in attendance. As is the way with these events there are always competitions of various nature and as the day went on things started to get out of control.

This escalation included dancing on tables, glasses being smashed while vomit littered the toilets which was enough for hotel management to make a call the following day to Glen Waverley Hawks president Matt Hollard.

He was told either he deals with the issue or they’d call the police. At this stage Hollard wasn’t aware of an even more disturbing incident which would shock and disgust the community.

One particular bet which had been made between two teammates resulted in the loser being forced to perform a sex act on the other. A third player took a video of it and then decided to forward it onto a mate.

It was then uploaded to a Mad Monday page on Facebook which shares the wild and wacky celebrations of football and netball clubs around the country, even offering merchandise.

The Glen Waverley video was only up briefly before the website quickly took it down but that was enough time for it to be copied numerous times.

A still from the viral video.
A still from the viral video.
Soon it began doing the rounds in WhatsApp groups but it wasn’t until a week later that Hollard started hearing rumours of its existence. Within 24 hours it had gone viral, even internationally, and his small suburban football club was under siege.
“We were left in a position of what do we do?” Hollard recalls. “We have to defend the football club here, potentially the players as well, so we put out a media statement.”
The statement said the club was “extremely saddened and disappointed” in the behaviour, describing it as a serious breach of “our culture and values”.
Counselling for those involved and anyone else would be offered but what Hollard wasn’t expecting was the backlash from the players involved and their family and friends.
An emergency meeting which brought together the club’s committee, sponsors, board members from the ENFL and the players involved, including captain Mitch Potts, was called.
The best case scenario was an apology, a commitment to training, counselling and a change in the culture to ensure something like this would never happen again.
Instead Potts led a walk-out of the senior players, accusing the club of not looking after his mental health.
Sponsors, including the Mountain View Hotel, had already started pulling the pin, parents were withdrawing their kids out of the junior programs and when the local council sent a ‘Show Cause’ notice, the president was genuinely concerned about the Hawks’ future.
“It just started unravelling over and over again,” Hollard said. “Players were putting stuff up on social media, letters were coming into the club which contained virtually death threats to the committee.
“We were at the point where we had to go through the process of, ‘Are we going to have a club next year?’.”
With each day another email from a financial backer would land in the club’s inbox, all followed a similar tone.
For example: “In light of recent events that have been in the media and the negative impact it has had, Simple Benchtops is withdrawing its sponsorship of the Glen Waverley Hawks Football Netball club. Please remove all advertising material from display immediately.”
But it was the letter from the City of Monash which rocked the committee. It highlighted clauses in the club’s contract involving inappropriate behaviour and how at any time the council can withdraw the use of a facility.
“Council seeks to understand what action the club will take to ensure that club behaviours align with Council policy to ensure eligibility for future use of Council facilities,” the letter said.
The Hawks home was at Central Reserve, on the corner of Springvale Rd and Waverley Rd in Glen Waverley, which was regarded as a “premier ground” in the competition which meant it was eligible to host junior and senior finals.

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These games were the lifeblood of the club with the sales of food and alcohol the key to keeping it viable.

“For a club that is in a very changing demographic with an Indian-Asian population, if we didn’t have those finals the club wouldn’t survive,” Hollard said.

“We don’t have enough numbers for the club to survive by itself. Those finals games basically put a bit of kitty in our bank at the end of each year to move forward.”

Despite sending a reply asking for a meeting with the council to explain how the club was going to deal with the issue, they received another letter which was essentially its death sentence.

They were getting kicked off Central Reserve, shunted down to an inferior ground, Wellington Reserve in Mulgrave, and were also having their liquor licence suspended.

So three months after a bet gone wrong by two of its players, the Glen Waverley Hawks, who were scheduled to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2023, was on the verge of collapse.

Fortunately in recent days there has been a change of heart from the council after a passionate plea to the mayor and other councillors saw the threat of being kicked off their ground rescinded.

And finally Hollard and his team have been able to look forward. A new coaching panel has been signed with the Hawks looking to have an U/19s team for the first time in almost a decade as well as U/17s who won the flag this year.

They will play in Division 4 after being relegated following just three wins this season and estimate they have lost around 30 players following the video scandal.

Ironically Potts, the Hawks senior coach and his assistant from 2022 plus several key Glen Waverley players have all signed with Oakleigh who will play in Division 3 of the EFNL next year.

For Hollard he is just relieved the club can finally see the light and turn its attention to trying to win its first senior premiership.

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“We have been on the back foot for so long, putting out fires and having no control of the situation,” he said.

“That video nearly killed us but we can now say we’re about to launch into a new era with a new culture.”

Had heard a little bit about this but didn’t realise how close it was to destroying the club completely.

All local clubs should just have a “no external Mad Monday” rule. If there is one, it’s a club event, and they can at least control (to a greater extent) what happens.

Because every local club has ■■■■■■■■ who’ll do dumb ■■■■ when on the ■■■■, and a club is only one camera phone away from big issues. Although, this one is a rather extreme example to be fair.

I thought this type of stuff was in the past when I played suburban footy. I only went on one end of season trip which ended with half those on the trip arrested by Federal Police as the plane landed at Tulla.

Locally we have had issue with alcohol, but both Clubs are currently well run and have strict club conduct rules with tough committees.

It only takes one or two dikkheads to destroy a club.

Leave the phones at the door.

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It’s interesting that the club chose to defend itself rather than lay the blame on the players involved which I think they could have done. I suspect the outcome would have been very different if they had distanced themselves up front.

Surprised there isn’t the follow up story on Oakleigh signing the players, after what they did at/to Glen Waverley.

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Lewis Taylor returning to his junior club in Terang-Mortlake. They’re one of the perennial bottom 5 clubs.

Ex-Melbourne player, Dan Nicholson, heading to South Warrnambool after his stint at Russells Creek in the Warrnambool District. He had quite a few years at Port Fairy before having to leave. His missus headed from the Seagulls to South a couple of years ago and co-captained the Hampden Netball flag team this year.

After a winless season, Port seem to be recruiting strongly, with a former Warrnambool captain-coach taking the reins. Toby McMullin, son of ex-Don and Pie, Ian, claimed the Seagulls as his home club when drafted to GWS. I think he played only one game in a 200-point loss. His grandparents live here and his parents have a holiday home here.

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Local footy is in crisis legitimately.

Clubs are going into recess everywhere. Primarily due to lack of players but one club, Old Mentonians, have also lost a home ground as well.

There is also real issues with the points system, with the Picola League going against AFL Victoria.

Some of the clubs not participating this year

Glen Waverley

The lack of flexibility from AFL Victoria about the points is going to ruin more clubs. The Picola League is moving to a model where lower finishing clubs get more points to play with.

Interesting the big criticism I’m reading of the points setup is that good clubs can just keep topping up with gun players as every year they keep the player they lose a point. With this in place the good clubs that hold onto their guns can just keep brining in more guns in a few years with the extra points they have to play with. I think this needs to be looked at.

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We have a cap now and a points system but most sides rort it and I’ve actively encouraged my club for years to do so and have found ways to circumvent it.
The points are awarded not only on ladder position but also depends on the town/area size so for instance a small town near the bottom of the ladder will get max points but a side from one of the bigger areas that finish bottom get only about half the points. We also take off a point for each year a import is at the club but we also have a rule where someone who plays juniors for 10+ games at your club at any level is deemed a local for life so when I was on the committee we would actively approach neighbouring leagues and offer money to their better juniors to switch over as there is no salary cap for juniors and then once they play a season for us they become a local and no matter where they go after that they are always a zero pointer if they come back

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Can’t argue.

You can add Glen Orden to the list of clubs about to fall over.

Sad. Was reading about Violet Town too the other day.

I find it a bit hard to swallow tagging the Glen Waverley thing as “death of local footy”
That’s some very, very specific circumstances.

Though the death of Glen Waverley FC seemed easy to swallow for that guy.

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Port Fairy Seagulls went winless both ones and twos with a couple of forfeits thrown in (including in the ones) last season, but everything seems a lot rosier this season. They’ve benefited from picking up an ex-Warrnambool coach who’s lived in PF for years, and he’s brought a few mates along, but every week there’s a new signing in the paper.

There were a couple of spells where Covid was absolutely rampant, and of course, they suffered from a Carey-Stevens incident a couple of years back. That didn’t do the netball team many favours either.

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Heading over to Paris this weekend to play in AFL Europe ‘Champions League’ on Saturday. League winners from all over Europe play in a 1 day comp. Some games will be live streamed through AFL Europe Instagram if anyone is interested in seeing some forgeign footy. Some cracking Aussie ex pats and some handy Europeans too!