Violence erupts in rugby league bronze playoff


VIOLENCE erupted towards the end of the PNG Games rugby league nines bronze medal playoff between Southern Highlands and the National Capital District on Friday.
Southern Highlands players reacted after an NCD player scored a try at the end of extra time which ignited a melee that saw Southern Highlands players and officials attack NCD players and led to Southern Highlands fans running into the field to attack NCD players and officials as well as the referee.
Police responded quickly at the Peter Humphreys Oval to arrest Southern Highlands players and officials.
Tournament director Joe Peregua said the matter was in the hands of the police but he would push for a sanction to be laid on Team Southern Highlands with the PNG Games Council.
“I can only give a recommendation for Southern Highlands to be excluded from the nines competition at the next Games but the PNG Games Council will
make their final decision,” Peregua said.
“They have to take a serious step to get the message across that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable and goes against what the PNG Games are all about.”
PNG Games sports director John Susuve promised that the perpetrators would be dealt with.
“The behaviour of certain provinces has been unacceptable. This Games is all about creating a pathway for young people and giving them a chance to experience a level of competition for them to develop,”Susuve said.
“We have a lot of people putting their time and effort to make this Games a success but some provinces cannot understand this.
“We want zero tolerance on violence and steps will be taken to ensure that people and teams who break the rules will be punished.
“I am really disappointed with Team Southern Highlands at the nines. As the next host of the PNG Games, they should know better. Their players and officials attacked another team just because they lost and this prompted their fans to follow them.
“How does that promote sportsmanship and other positive values?”
Susuve agreed with Peregua that the matter was with the police and players would be charged for assault. He said a report would be given to the PNG Games Council for action to be taken against the provincial team.
Susuve said the level of discipline showed was a concern.
“We know they love rugby league and they are very keen supporters but they need to behave responsibly. The next Games will be held in their province.
“It all boils down to the attitude of the people and their behavior is not a good impression. There needs to be tough penalties imposed to protect everyone involved.”
Susuve confirmed that there had been some flare ups in basketball and AFL and the PNG Games Council was dealing with the matters.
“The Council is here to safeguard the interest of the Games and if reports are received from competition managers of such behaviour we won’t hesitate to penalise teams and provinces.”