On-field brawlers to face fines
NDRL president Mick McCotter has warned that officials will cast a careful eye on player behaviour in the grand final after on-field brawls marred the preliminary final.
The Avondale Tigers and Gin Gin Hawks rugby league clubs have been fined after a fiery conclusion to the semi-final showdown at Shark Park in South Kolan.
“It was an ugly end to what was a great game of football,” McCotter said.
“The game was intense and combative and both teams had a lot on the line, but there is no excuse.”
A long-standing rivalry between Gin Gin and Avondale, last year’s grand final opponents, erupted in the later stages of the second half at the weekend as tempers flared and a number of all-in brawls broke out.
Gin Gin lock Shane Blair and Avondale second-rower Daniel Steenson and were sent off, while Hawks captain Dan Taylor and Tiger’s lock Daniel Walls were sin-binned. The stoush re-ignited after the full-time siren as players met on the sidelines, supposedly to shake hands.
Blair and Steenson were fined $250 each for their involvement, as were their clubs.
“We’ve decided to hit players and clubs where it hurts most – in the back pocket,” McCotter said.
“It’s a blight on our game and we’ve taken a stand.”
McCotter applauded the efforts of officials and referee Matt Mason in controlling the situation.
“They had a tough job and they handled the situation quickly and effectively,” he said.
“The players in question were dealt with and the situation was prevented from escalating.”
McCotter said players who fall foul of the NDRL code of conduct in the grand final between Gin Gin Hawks and Miriam Vale Magpies would be dealt with harshly.
“This is the pinnacle of our game and, while we want to see good, hard and physical football, we don’t want to see any fighting,” he said.
“We want families and kids in the grandstands to be able to enjoy the football.”
Gin Gin Hawks will clash with Miriam Vale Magpies at 6.45pm at Gary Larson Oval on Saturday.
The resurgent Hawks will be playing to topple the favoured Magpies and claim back-to-back premierships.