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Player and spectator stood down immediately after sideline rugby league brawl

A still shot from the brawl.
A still shot from the brawl.

A player and spectator involved in a wild sideline brawl in a Lower Hunter Rugby League match have been stood down immediately by the Country Rugby League. 

The ban, which prevents the pair from participating in all facets of rugby league including playing or attending matches, comes as the CRL investigate the incident, which was caught on video and widely shared on Facebook.

The player and spectator have been referred directly to the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby League disciplinary panel following the fracas at Saturday’s D grade match between the Woodberry Warriors and Maitland United.

The game was abandoned with about 15 minutes left to play following the melee, with Woodberry leading United 56 to 6 at the time. 

Woodberry coach Noel Dent said he was limited in what he could say given the pending investigation, but agreed the incident was “disappointing”. 

“Hopefully they (the CRL) will get the GoPro footage from the referees and not the 10 second video that’s going around social media,” he said. 

“It’s a shame because (the spectator) wasn’t a supporter of either club.” 

In another blackeye for the game, a spectator attending the Belmont South and Raymond Terrace match at Lenaghan Oval has also been referred to the disciplinary panel for allegedly initiating a physical altercation with a player after the completion of the game.

Country Rugby League CEO Terry Quinn confirmed the CRL would take a strong stance against any players or spectators found guilty of instigating or participating in aggressive behaviour at games.

“Incidents like those that are alleged to have occurred on the weekend need to be eradicated from the game and strong penalties and heavy suspensions can be enforced to send a clear message – if you engage in this type of behaviour, you will face the consequences,” Mr Quinn said. 

“We will not tolerate any individuals who engage in aggressive behaviour at Rugby League matches.”

Both hearings will be held at the Newcastle Leagues Club on Wednesday, May 23.

Earlier:

Country Rugby League have confirmed they are investigating after footage of an ugly brawl between a player and a spectator in a Lower Hunter rugby league match hit social media on Saturday.  

The footage, which shows a player from the Woodberry Warriors and Maitland United game trading blows with a spectator on the sideline, was widely shared on Facebook following the match.

The game was abandoned with about 15 minutes left to play following the fracas, with Woodberry leading United 56 to 6 at the time. 

Woodberry coach Noel Dent said he was limited in what he could say given the pending investigation, but agreed the incident was “disappointing”. 

“Hopefully they (the CRL) will get the GoPro footage from the referees and not the 10 second video that’s going around social media,” he said. 

“It’s a shame because (the spectator) wasn’t a supporter of either club.” 

In a statement on Monday morning, a Country Rugby League spokesperson said the incident was being investigated.

“Country Rugby League are aware of an incident that occurred between a player and spectator in the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby League on Saturday,” the spokesperson said. 

“CRL, in conjunction with the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby League are investigating the incident and take all incidents involving on or off field violence seriously; with all perpetrators to be dealt with accordingly.”

This story Player and spectator stood down following wild rugby league brawl first appeared on The Maitland Mercury.