NRL fans who smuggle glass bottles into games and then use them as projectiles should be banned for life, according to football fans and commentators.
Veteran ground announcer Grant Goldman, and Samantha Delmege, wife of former Manly Sea Eagles CEO Max Delmege, both told The Newsroom there was no place for such dangerous behaviour in the NRL.
Their comments follow an incident involving a Bulldogs fan at Monday night’s game in Belmore in which a bottle was thrown at the Raiders’ bench at half-time, narrowly missing a player’s head. A 39-year-old Rouse Hill man has been charged with behaving in an offensive manner in a public place and will face court later this month.
Mr Goldman, who has called rugby league games at Brookvale Oval for 32 years, said one of the worst incidents he had seen came from a Bulldogs fan who jumped the rails and physically assaulted the Sea Eagles’ mascot at Gosford.
Asking whether families would be scared to attend Bulldogs matches after Monday night’s incident, he told The Newsroom: “Yes, but only Canterbury… they have a poor track record with violent fans.”
Mr Goldman said any fan who threw a bottle onto a footy field should be “kicked out for a lifetime”.
Samantha Delmege agreed, labelling such episodes “a disgrace”.
“The fans need to understand it’s a game and one team has to lose,” Mrs Delmege said. “There are women and children at the games and what if they got injured? Those that are like that need to be banned for life.”
Bulldogs CEO Raelene Castle told the media in a press conference such behaviour was “not acceptable”.
“We’ll be doing all we can to make sure that we communicate with our fans that that behaviour is not acceptable,” she said.
Belmore Sports Ground does not sell beverages in glass bottles, and security does not allow people to enter with bottles, so Ms Castle assumed that any glass bottle thrown must have been smuggled in.
Raiders Coach Ricky Stuart praised the security at Belmore after the match. “The Bulldogs have dealt with it very professionally and very well,” he said at the press conference.
“Canterbury is a great club and they jumped on it quickly; we don’t want those unruly fans in our game.”
The Bulldogs will play the Melbourne Storm next Monday night. The Newsroom contacted the Melbourne Storm for comment but had not heard back at the time of publication. – Jesse Mullens
Photo of the Bulldogs at Belmore Sports Ground from the Canterbury Bulldogs gallery.