BAD DAY: Sunday’s semi finals will go down as one of BRL’s darkest days.
BAD DAY: Sunday’s semi finals will go down as one of BRL’s darkest days. BEN TURNBULL

League game was 'bloody disgraceful' on and off field

A MINOR semi final that was more like an ESPN fight night and a "bloody disgraceful", abusive crowd could cause the end to local rugby league as we know it.

Sunday's Bundaberg Rugby League semi final day at Bundaberg's Salter Oval will be remembered for shameful acts both on and off the field, and the fallout is set to continue.

While it does not sound like a large number, it could mean the BRL will need an influx of volunteers for the competition to go ahead in 2016.

BRL president Mike Ireland watched the game in the clubhouse with his wife and said he was sorry to be involved in the sport.

"I had my wife there with me, and I couldn't believe some of the stuff coming out from people I thought were much more decent," Ireland said.

"I have never seen this amount of misbehaviour by patrons in my nine years on the board.

"I'm sorry I'm involved in league at all.

"How they expect to get people to games - what are we supposed to be like for our kids?"

Ireland said police would contact a patron who knocked over about 10 garbage bins after Past Brothers beat Hervey Bay in the major semi final.

In Tuesday's Fraser Coast Chronicle, Hervey Bay Seagulls president Nathan McGrath said he was ready to walk away after he was subjected to torrents of abuse.

It is understood that number has jumped to at least four across the BRL, and it could continue to grow.

"I'm sure everyone involved in rugby league would be happy to walk away after that," Ireland said.

"This isn't against a particular club: all four A-grade clubs (involved on Sunday) have to have a long look at themselves.

"Everyone wants to abuse you for this or that but nobody wants to put up their hand to help."

Much of the build-up had been dominated by an incident which involved Past Brothers fullback Jake Carl.

Carl was sent off and charged with grade one contrary conduct after he swore at and appeared to make contact with a referee.

Ireland clarified earlier reports yesterday, and said the alleged shoulder was inconclusive.

Carl's escaped suspension with an early guilty plea.

McGrath has been involved with league for more than 30 years, but told the Chronicle he had never heard anything like he did during that game.

"I've played the game since I was seven years old, and I have never seen or heard what happened on Sunday," McGrath said.

"It's not to do with the loss, it is what I was subjected to - for no reason - from that crowd."

"At this point I will never go back to a BRL game."


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