CUT SHORT: The referee cut short Saturday's BRL match between Stanthorpe and Wallangarra claiming he'd lost control of the game.
CUT SHORT: The referee cut short Saturday's BRL match between Stanthorpe and Wallangarra claiming he'd lost control of the game. John Fletcher

Chaos on derby field as ref 'loses control' of game

PLAYERS were sensationally taken from the field with fewer than 20 minutes remaining in Saturday's local derby between Stanthorpe and Wallangarra.

With 19 minutes left on the clock, Gremlins player Brad Crisp went down with a suspected neck injury after a heavy tackle by Rams player Marc McGrady who was put on report.

With the match still in the balance, the referee put an end to proceedings after claiming he was losing control of the match.

Wallangarra Rams coach Allan Wetzler said he had never seen anything like the scenes that unfolded at Wallangarra Sports Reserve on Saturday.

"I was shocked. I didn't know what it was all about and I still don't really know," he said.

"I didn't think there was a need for it to be called off. He's a top grade ref and it's his job to be able to control the game.

"The boys were starting to get restless in a good hard game, but it wasn't going to erupt into any brawls."

Stanthorpe captain-coach Damian Petrie said the players were dismayed with the decision.

"From our point of view there is no animosity between Stanthorpe and Wallangarra," he said.

"At the end of the day it's amateur sport and it's meant to be fun and about country towns getting together and enjoying competitive spirit."

The question has to be asked whether the game should've been called off at all.

BRL President Dolly Bennett said she was in no position to make any comment until she'd reviewed the match footage.

The Stanthorpe Border Post also contacted the Toowoomba Rugby League Referees Association who also declined to comment until they had reviewed the match footage.

The Gremlins led 26-14 at the time the match was called off and were awarded the two competition points as stated in BRL rules.

Although they took the win, Petrie said his side were lucky to get away with the win.

"We were poor again with the ball," he said.

"We only completed 49% of our sets and winning sides should be working off a completion rate of about 75%.

"To their credit (Wallangarra) they came out hard at the start of both halves with good line speed in defence."

BRL Treasurer and touch-judge Mike Hayes said the standouts for Stanthorpe were Nathan Shatte at hooker, five-eighth Geoff Swan and Jarrod McIntosh.

"The best of the forward pack was Ben Staley and Brendan Perkins," Hayes said.

"For Wallangarra Coedie Tandy and Roger Bartholemew were two standouts."

Scores

Stanthorpe 26 (Tries: J. McIntosh, Staley, Swan, Cameron, Hicks. Goals: Wilmot 3) def Wallangarra 14 (Tries: Anderson, Fleming, Tandy. Goals: Bartholemew)

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