Teen footballer in hospital as police investigate alleged assault during suburban match

Police are investigating an alleged assault during an Essendon and District Football League match on Saturday that left a 16-year-old boy with a suspected fractured cheekbone.

Police and ambulance officers were called to John Pascoe Fawkner Reserve in Francis Street, Oak Park about 2pm on Saturday after the footballer was allegedly punched during a thirds game between Oak Park and Roxburgh Park.

Police are investigating an assault in an EDFL match that left a teenager with a suspected fractured cheekbone.Credit: Sebastian Costanzo

The match was called off prematurely by the two club umpires after the game got out of hand in the final quarter.

Ambulance officers placed the injured Oak Park player on a spinal board as a precaution and he was taken to Royal Melbourne Hospital’s emergency ward with facial injuries, in a serious but stable condition. He remained in hospital in a stable condition on Sunday afternoon.

Police said they were investigating the assault.

“Officers were called to the Francis Street reserve just before 2pm following reports a player had been assaulted,” police told The Age.

“Investigators have been told the 16-year-old victim was playing on the field when a man punched him to the face. The teen was transported to hospital by ambulance.

“Officers spoke to a number of witnesses at the scene and are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.”

Oak Park president Tim Littlewood said he was at the club moments before the incident.

“I was there until just before it happened and then I left that game and went to the senior game and I got a phone call from there,” he said.

“The young kid kicked a goal and said something to the Roxburgh Park player, or the Roxburgh Park player said something to him, and then he got chinned.

“It got to a point in the game when it got a bit rough and tough and they [the umpires] called the game.”

Littlewood – who added there was no vision of the incident – said having club umpires, rather than umpires supplied by the league, did not help the situation.

“I would like to see the EDFL supply some umpires or, if not, officials from the league to monitor these games. It’s ridiculous,” he said.

“It’s not the first time it’s happened where they haven’t sent them. I wouldn’t mind them sorting that side of it out.”

EDFL chief executive Ian Kyte was unable to provide more information but said the league was also investigating the incident.

Roxburgh Park co-president Mark Sedgwick declined to comment when contacted by The Age.

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