THREE boys were hospitalised and many spectators sustained minor injuries following yet another violent rugby league match in Goroka last weekend.
Again, the problem has been blamed on the consumption of alcohol amid cries from certain sectors of the community to totally ban all alcohol and related beverages.
The A grade grand final between X-Sol Country and Police Dog United ended abruptly five minutes before full-time, when violence erupted among drunken supporters outside the field and spilled onto the field.
Reports from Goroka Base Hospital confirmed that three boys had been admitted with wounds to various parts of their bodies, while many others were treated for minor injuries and discharged.
League violence has been a nagging problem for PNG rugby league scene for many years despite countless, costly campaigns to address the problem.
The Australian President’s XIII visited earlier this month for a game against their PNG counterparts with a message advocating among others “stop violence in rugby league”.
The PNG NRL Bid Team also sees league violence and the bad press that follows as a potential stumbling block to the success of their mission to obtain a licence to enter a team in the tough Australian NRL competition.Country maintained a narrow lead when the fight broke out last Sunday.
The fight started when United scored to narrowly trail Country 14-16.
Country led 8-2 at half-time and returned to score two more tries in the second half to extend their lead. United then rallied to score two converted tries to close the gap14-16, when all hell broke loose.
Goroka rugby league games committee condemned the violent behaviour of the two sides.
They said fortunately there were no casualties but minor injuries were sustained by both supporters and players during Sunday’s incident.
A 30-seater Toyota coaster bus and a Dyna truck used to ferry Country supporters and players was reportedly smashed during the incident.
Noso Namba, a staunch rugby league fan in Goroka blamed the violence on alcohol, which was excessively consumed by supporters from both sides prior to attending the grand final match.
Goroka league president Pat Siwi could not be contacted for comment but it was understood he was having an audience with officials of both camps to find an amicable solution to the problem.