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Sideline bans on the cards after growing wave of footy violence

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Gold Coast police will consider stepping up security measures for all Gold Coast rugby league games after an “unbelievable” assault on a grand final referee at the weekend.

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A 27-year-old man will face court next month on charges of racing on to the field and punching the referee in the face.

The alleged assault came after the full-time whistle in the Currumbin Eagles win over the Tugun Seahawks in the senior reserve grade Grand Final at Cbus Stadium at Robina around 5:10pm on Saturday.

Gold Coast Acting Chief Superintendent Rhys Wildman said the man would face charges of assault and the offence of entering the field of play.

“One particular member of the crowd was not too impressed with the referees’ call with one particular matter that was in play,” Wildman said.

“Just as the game was finalised, that male jumped the fence, ran up to the referee and threw a punch which struck that referee in the face. It’s just unbelievable.

“It’s an extremely concerning matter from our side.”

The police security review for rugby league clashes follows increasing ugly behaviour and violence from the sidelines at both senior and junior sporting codes at the Gold Coast over the past season.

AFL Queensland banned one Broadbeach Cats club official for life and another from Southport for the 2021 season following an ugly incident at an Under 12s fixture.

Amid concerns of a league-wide escalation of violence and poor sportsmanship during the season, clubs across the Gold Coast also took the extraordinary step of banning parents from the sidelines of all junior footy games.

The ban aimed to protect players and officials from increasingly aggressive threats and abuse.

Wildman said at the rugby league incident on Saturday, police officers and security were already on the field as the game ended under their “threat assessment” tactics for the event.

He said the man allegedly dodge security to race onto the centre of the field and throw a punch that grazed the ref’s face. He was then quickly tackled to the ground.

“Having anyone interfere with a sporting official is considered extremely serious,” Wildman said.

“It’s a game. I understand people like supporting their particular sports and encourage to do so, however it’s not something to take that level of action to jump the fence and assault an official,” Wildman said.

 

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