COW­ARD PUNCHED

Oz­tag player Damian Rangi’s wife and two-year-old son watched in hor­ror as he was ...

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Jil­lian McKee

THE last thing Damian Rangi re­mem­bers be­fore wak­ing up in an am­bu­lance is try­ing to break up a fight be­tween two play­ers dur­ing his Oz­tag grand fi­nal in St Marys.

The Minch­in­bury res­i­dent, 29, was hos­pi­talised af­ter he was the vic­tim of a cow­ard punch dur­ing his di­vi­sion 8 mixed grand fi­nal two weeks ago.

Paramedics were called to the Kingsway play­ing fields about 8pm on Septem­ber 8 where Mr Rangi was con­vuls­ing af­ter be­ing hit on the back of the head dur­ing the melee.

“I was knocked out and hit the ground, and was told I started hav­ing con­vul­sions,” Mr Rangi said.

The in­ci­dent was wit­nessed by his hor­ri­fied wife and two-year-old son.

He told the Stan­dard he was break­ing up a fight be­tween two fe­male play­ers on op­pos­ing sides dur­ing the game’s sec­ond half af­ter a penalty was blown by the ref­eree.

“I was try­ing to break up the two girls as they were hit­ting and kick­ing ... and it got big­ger,” Mr Rangi said.

“Many (peo­ple) from the side­lines got in­volved. The last thing I re­mem­ber is pulling two of our girls away — the next thing I knew I was wo­ken up by paramedics 30 min­utes later.” Mr Rangi’s wife and young son watched as he was taken to Ne­pean Hos­pi­tal by am­bu­lance.

He was kept un­der ob­ser­va­tion overnight and had var­i­ous X-rays and CT scans, which luck­ily came back all clear.

Mr Rangi sus­tained se­vere bruis­ing and swelling to his face but said he was very lucky.

“I am still strug­gling to eat and chew two weeks later and have bad headaches, but over­all I have been lucky,” he said.

Po­lice were called to the fields and took state­ments.

A po­lice spokesman said said they were still in­ves­ti­gat­ing the in­ci­dent and urged mem­bers of the public to come for­ward.

“We are still in­ves­ti­gat­ing the event.

“Mr Rangi sus­tained the most se­ri­ous in­juries but many other play­ers were hurt, cur­rently we do not have clear in­for­ma­tion and are ap­peal­ing for wit­nesses to come for­ward,” the spokesman said.

Pen­rith Touch Football As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent John Howard said the op­pos­ing team had been stood down from the com­pe­ti­tion fol­low­ing the as­so­ci­a­tion’s own pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the in­ci­dent.

“We have sus­pended the team from play­ing in the next com­pe­ti­tion,” Mr Howard said.

“We have also sus­pended some in­di­vid­ual play­ers from play­ing in any other as­so­ci­a­tion.

“Cur­rently no one has come for­ward and iden­ti­fied the per­son in­volved, and the in­ves­ti­ga­tion has been left in the hands of the po­lice.”

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion who has not yet spo­ken to of­fi­cers should call St Marys po­lice on 9677 7499 or via Crime Stop­pers on 1800 333 000.

Pic­ture: MATT SUL­LI­VAN Minch­in­bury’s Damian Rangi suf­fered from se­vere swelling and bruis­ing to the head af­ter he was cow­ard punched while try­ing to break up a fight.

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