“Brawl erupts between players and supporters at Super League game!”
That was the headline I woke up to this morning. The first few pictures I saw almost confirmed the headlines the media ran with. However, looking further into what happened after the match between the Salford Red Devils and the Huddersfield Giants, I came to the conclusion that this was a fairly complex incident that Rugby League authorities really need to look closely at before they act.
It is clear that during the match certain sections of the Salford end of the stadium were misbehaving. A flare was thrown and there are reports that rivals local clubs were causing trouble during the game.
There are also reports that stewards at the stadium didn’t keep ahead of the trouble, and that they didn’t have the police presence to back them up as they should. This is an issue. As somebody that goes to football games to watch footy, I have never been involved in any sort of incident in the stands. Not everyone is like me though. Some people, for what ever reason, go to games with the thought that they will act up and cause issues for those around them.
When that happens, stadium staff need to be proactive. They need to stay ahead of trouble makers because over time we have seen that things can get out of control very quickly. Anyone that is causing issues at a game needs to be kicked out. Stadium staff should never wait until things have escalated.
As a Salford supporter ran into the field, something that should never occur, the stewards to their credit were onto them. That is when things went from bad to worse, and things got out of hand. Certain parts of the crowd didn’t like what they saw, things started to spiral out of control, and all of a sudden you had players running over to the stand to protect their own family members, some of whom had very young children with them.
What a disgraceful scene. What type of morons lose control of their own behaviour to the point where women need protected and kids are screaming at a Rugby League game?
I can’t imagine what it was like for the players to see this all happening. Quite honestly, I think it is just luck and a hell of a lot of self control on behalf of players that we didn’t see real violence explode as players looked to protect their loved ones. I have not one single negative thing to say about the behaviour of Salford players in this incident. This is all on the minority of stupid idiots in the stands that started this mess….at a game of football!
What utter clowns!
This puts a black mark on the Salford Red Devils club, and it is clear that the majority of their supporters, the club itself, and the owner are extremely embarrassed by what occurred. It was encouraging to see that Salford supporters who witnessed the incident have said they will inform the club of the trouble makers in an effort to make sure they are not involved with the club in the future.
That really needs to happen. If you witnessed something happen at the game and you can provide useful information, inform the club directly.
I’ve said before that when crowd violence erupts at a game, you need to tread the club as one single unit. You can not compartmentalize the club as being different from its players, its official, or its supporters. A club turns up to a match at one, and everyone is involved in the events of the day. Everyone plays different roles in how those events turn out, but at the end of the day a club is the sum total of all of its parts.
With that in mind, I think the Salford Red Devils should be penalized. Why? Because there needs to be some type of action taken, there needs to be a response. This incident involves Salford, that is inescapable, and in the same way the Salford club will do what it can to eradicate this issue from its supporter base, it also needs to take on the responsibility it has to the game for the scene that occurred in Huddersfield.
I’m a big believer in fining clubs when their supporters can’t control themselves and act like adults at games. I think a find, and the follow up sanction of deducting competition points for any follow up problems that occur in the next five years is the only way to move forward.
Yes it is harsh, but that is how these serious incidents need to be approached. There is no place in Rugby League for crowd violence. None! It needs to be eradicated with the most severe penalties the game can hand out to clubs who end up having to face this issue head on.
I also believe that game day security at all Super League matches should be reviewed in the aftermath of this mess. Super League has way too many incidents involving moronic supporters who can’t control themselves. Something needs to be done to stamp it out once and for all.
I feel sorry for the Salford club and for the supporters who turn up to games to cheer their team on. I hate seeing these incidents happen in Rugby League. They need to be stamped out, and unless penalties are severe, there won’t be enough of an incentive to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
Lets hope the culprits are found and banned from attending future games.
I hope no innocent parties were hurt.
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