On Friday night as the video referee was called upon, I knew Bulldogs fans would be very unhappy with the decision that was about to be made.
We were either going to see Ben Barba awarded a sensational, game ending try, or we were going to see the Dragons awarded a penalty within the Bulldogs half of the field, giving them a chance to even the scores up through a penalty kick.
We didn’t give the video referee the credit they deserved for the magnitude of the decision. It was a crucial, possible game deciding decision they made on Friday night. They got the decision correct though, and it allowed St George/Illawarra Dragons star Jamie Soward to have a slightly difficult kick to tie the game up and send it into golden point extra time.
As Soward lined up the kick he had projectiles thrown at him by idiots in the crowd. He went on to miss the kick, handing the Bulldogs victory.
I can not believe that in 2013 we are still dealing with idiots that can not control themselves at a football game.
For what ever reason the Canterbury Bulldogs have on going issues with the behaviour of their crowds. Just saying that is going to upset a lot of Bulldogs fans. I don’t care. You can go back over the last decade and find incidents involving Bulldogs crowds that needed to be addressed. That is something you can not say about any other NRL supporter base.
No doubt NRL and ANZ Stadium officials will come out and say they will ban any offenders they can identify from attending games in the future. Sadly, that just doesn’t work. If you really do believe that the people that cause problems in a crowd will be identified, and that they might be prevented from buying tickets in the future themselves, how can you possibly screen tens of thousands of people that come through the gates at every game to pick out the trouble makers who are trying to return?
Put simply, you can’t. Its impossible.
I believe the NRL should fine clubs who have crowd behavior issues. Fines should be used as an incentive for clubs to make sure the put a stop to incidents like we saw on Friday Night. Whether that means putting on more security or running campaigns to teach their supporters how to behave in a civilized manner when attending the game, clubs won’t just sit back and cop never ending fines without finally addressing the issue.
If clubs have repeated crowd behaviour issues, I would like to see them lose competition points. Do something that will hurt the club and its supporter base. Give fans consequences for their actions. If supporters see some idiot causing trouble at a game and know it could cost their club competition points, they’ll soon make security aware of them and get them removed.
As Rugby League supporters we can sit back and call these problems “isolated incidents”, or we can make some noise about it and get these morons removed from out football grounds. Someone willing to throw things on the field isn’t someone I want to be sitting next to at a game. Imagine what it is like for someone that takes their kids to a game and see’s objects flying past them because some idiot sitting behind them can’t control themselves.
Rugby League crowds have always been known as some of the best crowds you will find in any sport. We don’t have the wide spread issues of violence that soccer does for instance. Those standards need to be maintained though.
We can’t have players becoming targets as they play a game of football. We can’t have them worrying they are going to get hurt because some coward throws something at them.
I hope the NRL doesn’t just sweep this all under the carpet and hopes everyone forgets and moves on. If the Rugby League Players Association has any balls at all they would already be out there today making sure this issue is address by the NRL. Don’t hold your breath on that happening though.
The Bulldogs need to address what happened on Friday night. It is not acceptable to have players dodging missiles thrown from the crowd. Something needs to be done so it doesn’t happen again.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
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