A Queensland rugby league club has banned five players and a spectator for life after a ‘disgusting’ brawl involving spectators broke out on Friday night.
The ugly scenes occurred during an Albany Creek Crushers home game against Wests Mitchelton, with witnesses saying up to 50 people were caught up in the chaos.
A Wests player remains in hospital after having his jaw broken in two places.
The violence escalated when spectators ran from the stands, including retired Brisbane Broncos player Jharal Yow Yeh.
7 News understands Yow Yeh entered the fray to defend his cousin.
“One or two people spill on the field and then you’ve got a couple of lunatics in the crowd go ‘well if they can do it I can do it’,” Albany Creek president Nathan Sologinkin told 7 News Brisbane.
Confronting photos captured the raw anger among the men on the field, with a mother knocked to the ground.
“The worst thing I’ve ever seen in rugby league,” terrified witnesses told 7 News.
The situation was only broken up by two police crews and a dog squad.
“Zero tolerance. Our committee, our members, don’t condone that one little bit,” Sologinkin said.
“I’m shattered and embarrassed that it did happen on my ground.”
The president, who played for three NRL teams in the late 1990s and early 2000s, was among those who attempted to break up the brawl.
“I’m a proud man. It was disgusting,” he said.
He conceded an official’s attempt to diffuse the situation by turning off the ground’s lights went awry.
“That was just a bad decision, I suppose, from a committee member but that’s the decision they thought at the time was right,” Sologinkin said.
Rugby League Brisbane told 7 News it is extremely disappointed by the incident, which won’t be taken lightly as an investigation gets underway.
Sologinkin, who wrote letters to five players and one spectator with notices of life bans, promised to clean up his club.
“It will never happen again here, trust me,” he said.