‘I hope they’re banned for life’: Minister blasts NRL Magic Round brawlers
Queensland Police Minister Mark Ryan has called for the people involved in a brawl that erupted at Suncorp Stadium during the NRL Magic Round on Friday night to be banned from attending games for life.
In the violent incident during the match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Manly Sea Eagles, a heated exchange between fans in one section of the stadium spilled over.
Multiple punches were thrown and one man was knocked backwards over multiple rows of seating.
The fight, in the northern end of the western stand, went on for over a minute before police and stadium security intervened, with a number of those involved reportedly ejected.
Asked about the incident on Saturday, Ryan said it was “disgraceful behaviour” and urged the NRL to ban those involved.
“These are enjoyable family events, and people should go with a sense of responsibility around ensuring these are enjoyable family events,” he said.
“I hope those people are not just dealt with by the legal authorities through police and the courts but I hope that they’re banned for life from the stadium.”
NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo has indicated to media outlets that they are considering bans for those involved, saying there was no place for such violence at NRL games.
Ryan defended police and security staff from criticisms that they took too long to break up the fracas.
“I know there’ll be all sorts of commentary and assessment about how fast things should happen, but anyone who’s seen that footage can see there are people engaged in pretty vicious behaviour,” he said.
“Police and security have to respond in a responsible way so that they minimise the risk of harm to themselves as well as harm to others.”
The NRL’s Magic Round sees every NRL game for the round played in Brisbane, and it was announced just this week that it would be held again in Brisbane in 2023, after the NSW government tried to poach the event for Sydney.
Ryan said he did not believe the brawl would hurt Brisbane’s chances of holding the event into the future, saying it was just a few isolated “yahoos”.
“It’s a poor reflection on those individuals, Queenslanders love their sport, and they love watching sport in a responsible way,” he said.
It’s the second ugly incident of fan violence at Suncorp stadium this season, after a smaller fight broke out during the Anzac round in April.
In that incident, a man shouted loudly during the minute of silence, and was attacked by another man nearby.
Security reportedly escorted both men out following that incident.
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