Mark McLinden revealed as pitch invader at NRL grand final

Mark McLinden (pictured left) playing for the Canberra Raiders and (pictured right) McLinden tackled by ground staff.
Former rugby league player Mark McLinden (pictured left) was identified as the pitch invader during the NRL grand final. (Getty Images)

The pitch invader during the NRL grand final has been identified as former rugby league player Mark McLinden.

During the final, a man ran on the field as Parramatta attacked Penrith at one end of Accor Stadium.

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The pitch invader, wearing a high-vis vest, took down the padding from one of the goal posts.

And the man in question turned out to be a veteran of 165 games at the Raiders.

McLinden played in five finals series for Canberra but never featured in a big game.

That was until his moment on Sunday.

McLinden wore a shirt with the words "end coal gas and oil".

Play continued during the incident as ground staff quickly managed to reattach the padding before the action returned to that end of the field.

"Drama in back play, We will brush that for the moment because the game marches on," Channel Nine commentator Matt Thompson said at the time.

McLinden was reportedly fined $5,000 for his pitch invasion.

Fortunately, the moment didn't overshadow Penrith's 28-12 victory over the Eels to cement back-to-back premierships.

Viewers identify Mark McLinden as pitch invader

Eagle-eyed social media users recognised McLinden in photos on Tuesday morning, before it was confirmed he was the man in question.

"A 43-year-old man from Mullumbimby was arrested after he allegedly entered the southern end of the playing field and dragged one of the pads from the goal post," a NSW police spokesperson said.

"He was removed from the field by security before being arrested by police.

"He has been issued with an infringement notice for entering a competition playing field."

The pitch invader (pictured) pulling down the padding at the 2022 NRL Grand Final match.
The pitch invader (pictured) during the NRL grand final was identified as a former rugby league player. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

McLinden had posted on social media earlier on Tuesday protesting against the use of coal, gas and oil and pointing to claims it was "causing catastrophic ecosystem loss and climate change."

He also released a song in the lead up to the 2022 federal election, pushing for people to vote for candidates he claimed were "climate champions".

McLinden moved to the UK for a number of years after his NRL stint, before retiring in 2009 after three matches with the Queensland Reds.

with AAP

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