Fight ends final

Normal, Sports

The National, Monday November 4th, 2013

 REFEREE Guma Opi suffered jaw broken as violence ended the Port Moresby rugby league grand final yesterday. 

Opi, a veteran of the game in Port Moresby,  was attacked as supporters from the two teams, Tarangau and Brothers, took to the field in the 78th minute as Brothers led 14-10.

The violence brought the curtain down on the iconic Lloyd Robson Oval, which undergoes redevelopment work this month for the 2015 Pacific Games. 

Opi was knocked to the ground by Tarangau supporters in front of a packed grandstand as he was walking off the field.

An injured Opi was spared further  attacks by angry Tarangau supporters as ground staff and other officials came to his aid.

Tarangau fans entered the field with two minutes to go and were immediately followed by rival Brothers fans.

Several fights erupted between rival supporters. The fighting lasted several minutes, but was quickly subdued aspolice drove their vehicles onto the field to control the situation.

Port Moresby Rugby Football League officials, including chairman Samson Unage, tried to quell tensions rival supporters continued to spill onto the field.

The match was abandoned with just over a minute on the clock.

Opi’s decision to disallow a try by Tarangau’s Moses Nini sparked the violence.

Nini, who had chased a high kick on the last tackle, caught the ball metres from the try line, crossing over to score the equaliser with the conversion to come.

Opi’s off-side call angered Tarangau players who walked off in protest.

That led to several incidents, with spectators from the stands throwing stones, beer bottles and cans at Brothers players.

Opi was attacked as he was leavingthe field.   

Brothers led 8-6 at half time from two unconverted tries to hooker Stanley Olo and wiry halfback Tony Wemin. 

Wemin again scored his second try in the second-half to ensure a handy 14-6 lead.

However when the warders fought back through a try to centre Barry Pekaea to get within four points, they smelled certain victory when Nini scored what could have given them a last-gasp match-winner in front of the uprights before all hell broke loose.

POMRFL judiciary chairman Jamuga Stone said a decision on the incident would be made today.

The league’s judiciary met last night.