VIOLENCE again reared its ugly head at the Lae Rugby League grounds last Sunday leaving a Goroka-based policeman and a Bintangor Lahanis player with serious facial injuries.
The incident occurred during the bemobile Cup preliminary final between the Lahanis and Toyota Mioks, won 11-8 by the Lahanis.
The lone Goroka-based mobile squad policeman from Komperi in the Henganofi district, was allegedly mobbed by Mioks supporters when he attempted to intervene in a fight between an Engan politician and an intoxicated clansman in the Lae rugby league grandstand.
According to reports, the politician had tried to restrain his clansman from throwing missiles onto the field and the appearance of the intervention by the lone policeman sent the wrong signals and he was allegedly mobbed and thrown from the grandstand.
Lahanis player Mack Siwi, son of Goroka League president Pat, was also allegedly assaulted for going to the aid of the lone policeman.
Peter Isa, a spectator from Komperi at the game, said the Enga politician should publicly apologise and pay compensation to the uniformed policeman who had been on duty that day.
It could not be confirmed through the Lahanis or Lae rugby league officials whether any official complaints had been laid but the PNG national rugby league has taken a poor view of the escalating incidences of violence in rugby league and will come down hard on perpetrators should appropriate complaints and reports are lodged.
This is the tough stand taken by the national league in view of the nation’s bid for a team in the NRL in Australia and concerted efforts to develop the game in the country.
This was the second time that violence had erupted during the bemobile Cup match in Lae this year.
Meanwhile, the game itself was evenly fought between the Lahanis and the Mioks, but by half-time the Goroka men had dominated the game and were ahead 10-2, courtesy of tries to centre Kevin Inagafa and Hasler Soso with a conversion to hooker Walter Hasu.
The Mioks scored a converted try with three minutes remaining on the clock but Lahanis captain courageous Nigel Hukula potted a field goal in the final seconds to get his boys home 11-8.
In the other bemobile Cup game in Mt Hagen, Masta Mak Rangers scored an 18-14 parting victory over three-time title holders SBS Muruks in Mt Hagen in a sudden death play-off.
Lahanis will play minor premiers Agmark NGIP Guria in the first grand final qualifier this weekend, while the Rangers take on the Mioks in the second preliminary final.
The Guria-Lahanis game will see the winners advance to book a grand final berth, while the loser will play the winner of the Rangers-Mioks game in the second grand final qualifier.
The venues are yet to be advised.