Did security act quickly enough to stop streaker?
A streaker lost a try for Queensland in Origin III after he raced onto the pitch close to the end of the much anticipated game.PT1M50S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2q4yg 620 349 July 17, 2013
The streak continues.
Matt Scott crashed over for what should have been the deciding play with two minutes and 10 seconds left on the clock, and it was almost time for the fat lady to sing. Instead, it was a fat streaker who almost decided proceedings.
After hurdling the fence, the advertising hoardings and evading numerous security guards and the players, he ran 95 metres upfield. He fell flat on his face, a result of exhaustion and, presumably alcohol.
Sent off: a streaker is escorted from the field. Photo: Brendan Esposito
It is understood that the trespasser greased his body with vaseline-like substance making it difficult for him to be tackled by authorities.
Wati Holmwood, 33, was taken to Auburn Police Station and questioned by police. It is understood that he did not co-operate with officers during the interview.
He was charged with wilful and obscene exposure, and enter or remain on a playing field without authorisation. He is due to appear in Burwood Local Court on August 6.
Crash tackled: the streaker at the Wests Tigers and Warriors qualifying final in 2011 at Allianz Stadium. Photo: AAP
Police said he also would be banned from all future events at ANZ Stadium, while it is understood the NRL will impose a life-time ban on him for all rugby league matches.
Holmwood was charged by police in 2011 after he stormed onto Allianz Stadium during the first half of a match between the Wests Tigers and New Zealand Warriors.
At the time, one commentator said Holmwood’s tubby figure was sprinting across the field ‘‘like there was a free buffet beneath the goalposts’’.
Mathew Scott scores while a streaker invades the pitch. The video referee overturned the decision. Photo: Brendan Espositio
After reaching one try line, he turned around and began sprinting back upfield, evading the first security guard who attempted to tackle him.
A second security guard wrestled him to the ground, where he was arrested.
Holmwood was charged in 2011 with wilful and obscene exposure in public, as well as assaulting security guard who tried to apprehend him.
When he faced court for the first time the following month, he was wearing a T-shirt and a pair of shorts.
State of Origin - Game III
Johnathon Thurston on the run. Photo: Brendan Esposito
Part of his bail conditions at the time required him to not drink in a public place or come within 500 metres of Allianz Stadium.
Numerous Facebook pages have been set up in the wake of Wednesday night’s incident, including one that is appealing for donations to pay for Holmwood’s expected fine.
‘‘you can donate 5c, $1 or how ever much you want,’’ the page says.
Spring in his step: a streaker runs onto the field. Photo: Anthony Johnson
Attitudes to Holmwood’s actions vary greatly on social media, where some are describing him as a ‘‘legend’’ and others saying he ruined the game and should cop a bigger fine for his actions.
On Wednesday night, Holmwood landed splat in the middle of play and, NSW defenders claimed, prevented them from stopping a rampaging Scott. Seven years of Origin football could have come to this.
The decision was referred upstairs. The video referees decided that, with a fat, naked man on the field and numerous security guards in tow, it was an obstruction call no one could complain about.
Mercifully, it didn't decide the game. Should the Blues have scored in those final, frenetic minutes, some nude fool may have done what countless Blues players couldn't – stop the, ahem, Bananabenders.
NSW coach Laurie Daley labelled the incident as "silly behaviour".
"What more do you say?" Daley said. "I didn't know what the rule was. I knew a try wouldn't be allowed."
"Obviously disappointed we didn't get the six set of six."
While it appeared Holmwood stopped what appeared a certain Maroons try, Blues captain Robbie Farah said the incident hindered his own team.
"It was tough for us because of the ruling at the time. It was the fifth tackle and they got a scrum feed with a full set of six," Farah said.
"There were only two or three minutes left in the game, it wasn't ideal for us...
"I didn't notice him until right at the end there when he was on the ground. I was too occupied to notice him."
Queensland coach Mal Meninga said the "big, fat fella" cost Matt Scott a certain try.
"I thought he did very well," Meninga said of the way Holmwood evaded his pursuers.
"It was disruptive. It cost us a try. We handled it ... Silly, ridiculous it does happen in Origin, in sport, but it does happen."
Maroons fullback Billy Slater could see the funny side afterwards asking "is he a Queenslander?"
Not since Peter Hore, the serial pest who interrupted World Cup qualifiers and Melbourne Cups, has anyone had the audacity to ruin one of Australia's most treasured sporting events.
Sadly, the Blues were again exposed as well.
Mitchell Pearce, the man himself will have you believe, will never pull on the sky blue jersey again.
The Roosters No.7, whose 12 Origin appearances is the most of any NSW halfback, predicted prior to the latest he wouldn't make a 13th unless he walked off ANZ Stadium a winner. He did not. So the question remains. Have we seen the last of Junior Junior? Do we put a line through him forever? Is it time for Adam Reynolds? Or Albert Kelly? Or anyone other than Mitchell Pearce?
The halfback, Ricky Stuart always says, owns the result. And while Pearce has been an easy target during a Queensland streak which now extends to eight years, the jury is out over whether he did enough to earn yet another shot.
The early signs weren't positive. In just the third minute of the match – and in just his second touch – Pearce dropped the ball cold just after his side earned a penalty.
The 24-year-old had a hand in James McManus' try, competed on every play in a kicking game that had good interspersed with bad. Yet again, it wasn't enough.
If there was one play that summed the whole thing up, it came in the 54th minute. The Blues had the momentum, the Maroons' line was stretched and Pearce got the ball. He had any number of options, but took the wrong one. In attempting to put a grubber behind the line, his foot missed the ball altogether. Peter Sterling, the second-most capped Blues halfback, summed it up succinctly from the commentary box.
"It's a poor play from Mitchell Pearce," he said.
It's not as if it wasn't all in his favour. He was playing with his Roosters halves partner, in front of a vocal home crowd, with a penalty count which was, at one point, 7-2 in his side's favour. It doesn't get much better than that.
It's not as if a halfback didn't stand up when the game was on the line. With fatigue setting in and just four points separating the teams midway through the second half, Cooper Cronk took ownership of the game. Again. In last year's decider, he kicked the match-deciding field goal from 41 metres out. This time, the Storm star put Justin Hodges over with a brilliant pass.
When Trent Merrin scored with nine to go, the deficit was just two.
Before the start of the series, NSW coach Laurie Daley declared South Sydney playmaker not ready for the step up to the big time. Time will tell next year.
As for the streaker, he faces a lifetime ban from all rugby league games at ANZ Stadium.
"There's a possibility he could be charged by police with a number of offences including resisting arrest, invading the field of play and [potentially indecent exposure]. That will be determined by police," said Arthur Stanley, ANZ Stadium spokesman.
Stanley conceded the antics of the pitch invader, who entered the field from the south-east corner, could overshadow a classic Origin encounter.
"He came at a very unusual part of the field, I understand, the quarter line, and it took a little while to [respond]," he said.
Chief Superintendent Peter Gillam said 10 people were arrested and 27 people were ejected from ANZ Stadium during the Origin decider for offences including tresspass, assault, intoxication, and anti-social behaviour.
He said the majority of the 83,800 football fans who attended the game were well behaved, but the actions of the streaker had marred the night.
"Sadly one man’s actions disrupted the game during a crucial time. His running onto the field and into the middle of the play was not only dangerous but also idiotic and senseless," he said.
"No one wants to see a grown man running around naked at a footy match and this man can expect to not only feel the wrath of the crowd but also a magistrate."
With Megan Levy