OUT OF CONTROL...This picture shows an unsuspecting Woolgoolga prop Neil Baker (number eight) about to be attacked from behind during Sunday's controversial Group 2 clash at Woolgoolga Sportsground.
OUT OF CONTROL...This picture shows an unsuspecting Woolgoolga prop Neil Baker (number eight) about to be attacked from behind during Sunday's controversial Group 2 clash at Woolgoolga Sportsground. The Coffs Coast Advocate

Clubs guilty of shaming game

IT is more than likely both Woolgoolga and Dunghutti will be on their best behaviour for the remainder of the 2009 season now that a large fine is hanging over their collective heads.

The clubs were found guilty by the Group 2 judiciary on Monday night of bringing the game into disrepute and were each handed a $5000 suspended fine. The period of the suspension expires on September 30.

The heavy approach came as a result of the melee that involved players and spectators when the Seahorses and Broncos clashed at Woolgoolga Sportsground on April 19.

The clubs will be forced to pay the sizeable sum if at any time this season a similar situation arises “on the playing area at their home ground” or if there is player misconduct in any grade that involves a majority of the players.

While some may see this as only a slap on the wrist as it means the players need only stay out trouble for the remainder of the season to avoid the financial penalty, the Group's judiciary has imposed an extra sanction on the club's which puts the onus on the club's committee to ensure both player and spectator safety while hosting a home fixture.

Both Woolgoolga and Dunghutti have been ordered to ensure that reasonable security for spectators and match officials is provided at home games as well as having an easily identifiable ground manager on duty throughout the day.

Failure to comply with this and other policies of the NSW Country Rugby League will result in a further $500 fine.

Woolgoolga have been given the added stipulation that the responsible service of alcohol be observed and that steps are taken to prevent alcohol being brought into matches at the Woolgoolga Sportsground.

“We're pretty disappointed with the result obviously,” Woolgoolga president Darren Hopkins said yesterday.

“Now we're under a bond and we're liable to pay $5000 if there's someone in the crowd who comes in from another club who wants to misbehave or cause trouble.”

Even though he disagrees wholeheartedly with the decision, Hopkins said that his hands and those of the club are tied as far as he can see.

“Apparently we have no cause for appeal from the way I've read it,” he said.

“Considering this is a one-off incident and there isn't a history of major incidents at our games it's a bit disappointing.”



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