Players await punishment
Wild brawl in final minutes of NDRL clash cause major review of incident
MOST rugby league fans who pay their money to watch Northern Districts Rugby League games want to watch the sport at its most basic – they don’t hand over their hardearned cash to have an all-in brawl land in their laps.
But that is what happened in the closing stages of the game between Avondale and Burnett Heads at the weekend.
With a few minutes to go, Avondale’s Corey Valzan and Burnett Heads’ Daniel Honeywill were sent to the sin bin, Honeywill for dissent and Valzan for a swinging arm.
When the players left the field the trouble started.
It is alleged that as Valzan left the ground and made his way to the bench, he became involved in an altercation with a supporter of Burnett Heads, and players from both teams became part of the ugly scene that put spectators in danger.
It is also alleged people from both clubs who were not playing in the game became involved after running from various places at the ground.
NDRL officials have begun reviewing the footage from the game to determine which players and spectators, if any, have a case to answer at the tribunal later this week.
It s also understood by the News Mail that assault charges could be laid if there is enough evidence.
Because of the severity of the incident it was referred to the QRL Central Division for review, and the Avondale and Burnett Heads team lists for the next round on April 26 might be different.
NDRL chairman Greg Appo said on review of the match tapes there could be seven or eight, but possibly as many as 10 people called to face the league to answer for their actions during the game at South Kolan on Sunday.
Appo was asked by the News Mail for comment on the incident but he declined, saying he did not want to hinder the judicial process by making assumptions on what punishment could be handed down if charges were laid by the NDRL.
On the NDRL Facebook page Appo posted “the NDRL will be taking action also and will not tolerate this sort of behaviour ever”. The brawl follows major incidents in 2012 and 2014. In the 2012 preliminary final between Avondale and Miriam Vale, an all-in brawl marred the game and Adam Hanson (Miriam Vale) was left with a broken jaw. Last year South Kolan’s Akuna Manuofeta was banned for 10 years, reduced to five, for striking a referee.
Burnett Heads won the game 32-26. In other results, Gin Gin defeated Agnes Water 36-16 and South Kolan belted Miriam Vale 64-18.
NDRL president Greg Appo
..the NDRL will be taking action and will not tolerate this sort of behaviour
BLIGHT: Burnett Heads and Avondale players get into some push and shove at the end of their game in the Northern Districts Rugby League at South Kolan.