Rugby disgrace: Fight mars grand final

A PREGNANT woman and a female official were allegedly pushed and manhandled by several Keas players during an off-field incident at Saturday's Mount Isa Rugby Union grand final.

Keas were not playing in the grand final, in which Warrigals defeated Euros 25-3, but several players turned up as spectators dressed as Smurfs wearing team training singlets.

The incident occurred during the second half after a Mount Isa Rugby Union (MIRU) committee member instructed the Keas players to keep away from the Euros team bench and sideline.

A Keas player who was shirtless with his pants partially down was also cautioned about his inappropriate dress standard.

Two of the players allegedly involved were wrestling next to the touch line with glass beer bottles while the game was in progress.

The Keas players ignored the instruction, which was repeated by another official.

A verbal altercation erupted, during which the committee member and a five-month pregnant woman were pushed by the players until spectators and MIRU officials intervened to quell the fracas.

The incident brings into question purported security plans for the grand final.

Five security officers had been arranged for crowd control at Rugby Park but only three turned up and were all reportedly far away from the incident, despite the altercation clearly becoming more and more heated over a period of five minutes.

One of the Keas players allegedly involved in the incident has nominated for a position on the MIRU committee.

Voting will take place at the MIRU annual general meeting this afternoon but it is not known how the allegations will impact the player's nomination.

MIRU president Daniel Fualalo said the behaviour of the players was a disgrace and wouldn't be tolerated.

"We [MIRU] don't tolerate any abuse of women," he said.

"Pushing a pregnant woman was the lowest, lowest of the low and alcohol isn't an excuse."

Mr Fualalo said clubs had been notified via email last Monday that MIRU was taking a zero tolerance policy towards intoxication and anti-social behaviour at the grand final.

"They were warned during the week that kind of behaviour was not on," he said. "Enough is enough."

In a copy of the email obtained by The North West Star, the MIRU executive committee is clear about its stance on anti-social behaviour.

"At all times, we expect everyone to engender good sportsmanship in their actions and words," the email reads. "Abuse towards officials and players will not be tolerated.

"It is incumbent on club officials to discourage this practice. This event is family-orientated, with sponsors and community dignitaries in attendance.

"As with the above expectations, any issues will be referred on to security and/or police."

While the alleged incident was the result of the actions of one club, Mr Fualalo said he believed it was part of a deeper problem afflicting the sport in Mount Isa.

"There's a mentality that abusing referees, linesmen, MIRU officials and volunteers is acceptable," he said.

"It's almost become a cultural thing within Mount Isa rugby union and the behaviour has been condoned by the clubs."

Keas club secretary James Allnutt was contacted for comment about the situation but told The North West Star he didn't think it was an issue for the newspaper.

"It's not an issue for the paper," he said.

"I don't want to talk about it."

MIRU is taking its concerns with the players' code of conduct violations to Queensland Rugby Union.

The maximum penalty for such a violation is a life ban.

Queensland Rugby Union officials were unable to be contacted yesterday.

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