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QRL backs stiff punishments

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Police should be at junior games: Renouf

Former rugby league international Steve Renouf says there should be a "partnership with police" to stop violence at junior rugby league games as the QRL backs 12 month bans for three teams.

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Queensland Rugby League bosses say a life ban for a junior player accused of stomping on a rival's head is a justified as they backed up a raft of punishments following a wild grand final day in September.

A total of 56 players were banned for one year and a 17-year-old Waterford player was banned for life after allegedly kicking the head of a Redcliffe opponent during the Greater Brisbane Junior Rugby League's grand final day at Wacol, in Brisbane's west, last month.

Four relatives the Waterford player suspended have also been asked to appear before a special disciplinary tribunal next week.

Players fight during the Under-18s Cup match between Northern Suburbs Tigers and Brothers.

Players fight during the Under-18s Cup match between Northern Suburbs Tigers and Brothers. Photo: David Nielsen, The Queensland Times

The players' father, two brothers and a cousin have all been requested to attend a hearing by the GBJRL after they failed to front a hearing last Thursday.

The incident has called into question the very concept of finals for the juniors and is another blow for a game trying to adopt a more professional and family friendly approach right down to its grassroots level.

Players from Wests Centenary and St Brendans have been subject to the bans after their fiery Under 15 decider, along with Waterford who played Redcliffe in the Under 18s grand final.

The penalties, many of which will be appealed, have been given the unequivocal backing by GBJRL chief executive Shane McNally, who said there was no excuse for the violence and parents and clubs must also share a hefty portion of the responsibility.

He also offered no apologies for the life ban of the 17-year-old, who will never take to a football field again unless an appeal overturns the decision.

“Well he did a full-blooded kick to the head on a player on the ground. I think a life ban is reasonable. I wasn't on the tribunal but in my personal opinion that's a fair ban,” McNally said.

“Mind you, all these penalties are up for appeal. I think most of them are appealing to the South East Division. But that's how strong we've got to be.

“We have to exclude people from what they supposedly like doing. We've got to send a message out that if people want to behave like that then they are going to be out of the game.”

QRL chief executive Rob Moore said the clubs had to take responsibility for the actions of not only their players but their volunteers, with a number of Leaguesafe officers, who run water and help injured players, under the spotlight for their role in the series of brawls during the Under 15 and Under 18 deciders.

He also said parents needed to take a step back and stop treating suburban league games as if their children are playing for the same stakes as State of Origins or NRL deciders.

“It's something that's been talked about for years and years. There's a million psychologists out there who'd have views on parents living their life through their children and probably suspect there parents didn't achieve a lot on the sporting field and they believe their children will,” Moore said.

“They take it to heart and we have to educate parents that it's not the be all and end all. The benefits for the kids are in going to the games and learning skills, and not in winning premierships.

“The onus is on the clubs. The clubs have got to educate their people and supporters that this behaviour is unacceptable.”

McNally said banning grand finals was one concept in discussion but no decision had been reached.

“We're looking at different options that we might pursue to try and reduce the incidents. I was asked what sort of thing were we looking at – and that's one answer that's been floated. But there's been no decisions or discussions made on that yet,” he said.

He also said Redcliffe players displayed good conduct on the day and the club wasn't hit with any suspensions.

“Redcliffe didn't try and get involved in the melee. They tried to move away and their only focus was their player on the ground.

“My understanding is the Redcliffe player put his hand out to shake hands, the Waterford player pushed him in the chest and commenced throwing punches. Unprovoked.

“So that's the evidence that came from the Chairman of JRL who was a metre away from it. That's pretty good evidence I think.”

McNally said the GBJRL had staged 43 grand finals this year and only had two incidents.

15 comments

  • Simply disgraceful conduct. It's pretty typical though of what we have come to expect from thugby league.

    I guess though it is really only the trickle-down effect from NRL - younger players emulating what they see older players doing every other week in this game. Bring back the biff eh? League might get good TV ratings but the reality is that parents are bolting from this code in droves and enrolling their kids with every other sport instead.

    Sorry who was it that said that NRL players aren't role models for their fans? Right...

    Commenter
    Petero
    Location
    Red Hill
    Date and time
    October 11, 2012, 6:52AM
    • It seems that Rugby League either breeds or attracts bullies. Is it the type of parents who encourage their kids to play RL over other sports, the sport creating bullies and thugs or just that the game is designed for this type of child to play a rough sport.
      Sadly the kids I see in the school playground bullying others and playing a little too rough are the Rugby League kids. I don't know what the solution is but I know I would never let a young child play this game.

      Commenter
      Sianta
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      October 11, 2012, 7:01AM
      • I would never let either of my kids play Rugby League....EVER! I'm not sure what sort of parent would allow it really!

        Commenter
        Craig
        Location
        Mordialloc
        Date and time
        October 11, 2012, 9:18AM
        • Most parents wouldn't want their kids to join a gang and Rugby League isn't much better. Many gangs get into fights due to differences (racial, geographical etc), in Rugby League the difference is the colour of their uniform and it is called sport and has spectators.
          It will take a long time for the governing bodies of the sport to be able to turn it back into a true sport that most people would want to be involved with.

          Commenter
          Sianta
          Location
          Brisbane
          Date and time
          October 11, 2012, 9:54AM
        • and what sport does your child play?
          is there any violence or drugs or misconduct in it??
          Bet you there is.. you just have a single minded view that League is a thugs game.
          i have played it all my life and run a successful club which has a zero tolerance for players and officials and parents.
          In the last 4 yrs we have grown for 75 kids to over 300.. and still not 1 incident,.
          Its about promoting a same environment for all to see...
          have a nice day

          Commenter
          Gambit
          Date and time
          October 11, 2012, 2:39PM
      • I don't know what's more disturbing about the photo......under 18's brawling, or people in the background smiling and enjoying what's going on.

        Commenter
        JB
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        October 11, 2012, 9:25AM
        • Ban them from playing football? Does that mean they'll be unleashed on the real world?? Probably safer for all of us if they remain on the park!!

          Commenter
          islander
          Date and time
          October 11, 2012, 10:13AM
          • It's incredible that action like this is necessary in a game of junior rugby league.Renouf is right, a police presence is required at finals - if they're going to continue.
            Whos going to pay for it? Perhaps the professional game with its billion dollar tv deal....you know the professional ranks that benefit directly from the production line of junior rufby league?

            Commenter
            deucelow
            Date and time
            October 11, 2012, 10:22AM
            • A good decision. Players in any football code who behave so appallingly should be banned for life. Unfortunately this type of conduct isn't confined to Rugby League. Penalties in Australian Rules for example - which can be and often is equally violent - are also ridiculously light at times.
              Thankfully, my son has never been involved in either code. There are far better and healthier sporting activities available which also require more nous!

              Commenter
              Mencius
              Date and time
              October 11, 2012, 10:31AM
              • I have let my children play Rugby League and was very involved in the club for a few years. Don't be so judgemental and quick to assume ALL players and families are thugs. Yes there are aggressive players but there are also those players in Rugby Union which we now play. I see the problem being at club level and these clubs/teams that are known for aggressive/dangerous play. It is these clubs that should be penalised and the League needs to get tough on these known clubs and change the attitude of the club. Getting rid of finals is not going to change a thing, the clubs with a problem are still going to get away with dangerous play every weekend. But don't tar all Rugby League players thugs we are not!!

                Commenter
                Sue
                Location
                Brisbane
                Date and time
                October 11, 2012, 10:40AM

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