The Chronicle

Seahorses buck against Broncos

WOOLGOOLGA rugby league club officials have indicated they would forfeit their June 28 match against Dunghutti, rather than risk the safety of players and supporters travelling to Kempsey for the return meeting between the clubs.

And president Darren Hopkins confirmed the club will consider citing referee Kirk Taylor, who abandoned the game between the Seahorses and Broncos at the Sportsground on Sunday.

Witnesses claim the referee walked off the field near the end of the first half following a minor scuffle between one player from each team.

After being enticed back to the arena, Taylor soon departed a second time, on this occasion allegedly throwing his whistle across the field and removing his jersey while running back to the dressing room.

Taylor finally re-started the game for the second half, but called a final halt 14 minutes from the end of regular time when a player brawl enticed spectators to run onto the field to join in the melee.

“We have obtained a video that shows some of the incidents,” Hopkins said. “Our committee is meeting to view the film and then we'll source advice from (chief administrator) Jim Anderson as to the best way to handle any complaint we decided to lodge against either players from the visiting team, or against the referee.”

Hopkins said the entire day got off on the wrong footing when the Broncos arrived at the ground late, forcing the commencement of the Under 18 game to be delayed by a half hour.

Gatekeepers reported up to 14 Dunghutti players refused to pay admission fees, threatening to force matches to be abandoned unless they were granted entry.

After a Dunghutti player was dismissed during the reserve grade game, spectators allege the player howled foul, racist abuse at the crowd while he was being ushered from the field.

Hopkins firmly denied speculation the unrest among the crowd was alcohol-related.

“There is no evidence alcohol was a factor,” he said.

“Everything that happened involving the spectators was a direct reaction to events that were happening in the game, including certain personalities involved.”

A member of the public contacted the Coffs Coast Advocate yesterday to admit he had been the one who called police to attend the ground and expressed his disgust at some of the antics he claims to have witnessed.

“I've been around football all my life and I've never seen anything so distasteful,” he said. “Players and people in the crowd were put in a position where their safety was at risk and it should not be allowed.”

Group 2 have called for reports from both clubs and an emergency meeting of the management committee will be convened to consider the evidence presented.

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