Heated moment: Tempers flare during the under 20s State of Origin match on Saturday night. Photo: Getty Images
A NSW under 20s player who called Queensland lock Luke Bateman a ‘‘f---ing gay c---’’ will be investigated by the NRL match review committee.
The referee’s microphone picked up the homophobic slur from an unknown Blues player and it was broadcast to a television audience on Saturday night during the representative game at Penrith's Sportingbet Stadium.
The match, won by NSW 30-8, was a spiteful affair with a scuffle breaking out between the teams in the 23rd minute and NSW prop Matthew Lodge was sent to the sin bin for his involvement in the fight. On the next play, Maroons winger John Folau was also sent off for 10 minutes for fighting.
Canberra Raiders forward Luke Bateman was sledged by a NSW opponent while representing Queensland under 20s at Penrith on Saturday night. Photo: Jonathan Ng
The gay slur incident occurred less than a month after the NRL, along with the Australian Rugby Union, Football Federation Australia, the AFL and Cricket Australia, held a joint press conference to announce they were committed to ensuring homophobic slurs were not part of their sports. The codes agreed to introduce policies consistent with the newly created Anti-Homophobia and Inclusion Framework by the end of August.
NRL CEO Dave Smith said the match review committee would be asked to review the television coverage of the game to determine if anyone should be cited. Anyone found guilty of the offence could be fined and suspended.
“There is no place for any form of discrimination in our game,” Smith said. “Rugby League is a game for everyone and we will not tolerate slurs based on gender, race, sexuality or any other matter. The NRL is determined to stamp out discrimination in our game.
“This matter will be investigated fully and, if any player has vilified an opponent, appropriate action will be taken.”
Meanwhile, Lodge is likely to get a rap over the knuckles from the NSWRL as he had the word ‘‘c--t’’ written on his wrist strapping, which was removed by officials during the game.