INVESTIGATIONS are under way into the safety of fencing at McDonald Jones Stadium after a fence collapsed on Sunday – at least the third fence collapse in the past six years at a Newcastle Jets home game.
A handful of Jets fans were briefly trapped beneath other fans on Sunday after the fence gave way as they surged and celebrated an Andrew Nabbout goal.
A spokesman for Venues NSW said first aid officers attended and that there were no significant injuries. An investigation into Sunday’s collapse had started and would “assess [if] the fence performed effectively and ensure protocols were followed”.
Other sections of fencing also collapsed in 2011 when the Jets played Sydney FC and again in 2013 against the Central Coast.
Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp has called on the state government to ensure the safety of the venue.
“The minister needs to guarantee that all of the appropriate maintenance works have been carried out at the stadium over the last five years and that the full budget allocation for these works has been expanded,” he said.
The fans involved in the incident were all part of a Newcastle Jets supporters group called NCL, which aims to be a “traditional” supporter group.
Speaking with the Newcastle Herald, a spokesperson for NCL said they had expressed concerns with possible safety issues, but had been ignored by stadium officials.
“We told stadium management and security that we need to be in bay one [because] the terrace was overcrowded,” the spokesperson said.
“They ignored our request before the fence broke and then still wouldn’t let us move after the fence broke.”
Jets CEO Lawrie McKinna said it “was a bit of shock” to see the fence collapse.
“To see the fence go down, the first thing you worry about is ‘is everyone okay?’ Lucky for everyone that nobody was injured,” he said.
Mr McKinna said he had no issues with NCL.
“If you were at the game at the weekend you would hear the great atmosphere,” he said.
He said the group were engaging the crowd “so the club’s not got any issue with them”.
“These guys are doing it [forming a supporters group] off their own back and they were in big numbers at the weekend and they made a lot of noise,” he said.