Lifetime ban for league thug
A TEENAGE rugby league fan has been banned from the game for life after he attacked a 15-year-old with an umbrella during an Ipswich junior match.
Ipswich Junior Rugby League president David Nugent said his organisation had no choice but to impose a hefty ban on the 16-year-old fan under its strict zero tolerance policy.
The incident occurred during a Swifts vs Fassifern under-16 white-grade match.
When a brawl broke out on the field, the guilty party, whom the IJRL did not want to name, jumped the fence to protect his brother who was playing for Swifts.
Unfortunately, as he began swinging his umbrella in the middle of the brawl, the only person he injured was his brother.
The incident happened in June this year.
The supporter appealed the ban to the Queensland Rugby League but was unsuccessful.
He was not a registered rugby league player.
Mr Nugent stood behind the tough sentencing.
“He is just a kid who made a mistake in the heat of the moment, but you cannot use a weapon at a rugby league game, which is essentially what the umbrella was,” Mr Nugent said.
“He was remorseful. He’s been through a lot because of it, but we must maintain high standards of behaviour at our junior matches.
“There were no serious injuries as a result, but that’s not the point.”
The IJRL has seen a large reduction in the number of violent incidents since it introduced its zero tolerance policy.
Last year six subordinates (coaches, supporters and parents) and eight players were found guilty of abusive behaviour.
That was half the figure of the year before.
Mr Nugent said the number of reported incidents at IJRL games this year had been on par with 2010.
“It’s steady in comparison to last year and that is disappointing because we want large reductions every year,” he said.