COUNTRY Rugby League chief executive Terry Quinn has said he will support the referee who called off Sunday’s Group 10 premier league match between Mudgee and Lithgow after 37 minutes.
Referee Brett Masters called time on the game after four separate brawls had broken out and three players had been sin binned.
At the time Lithgow were leading 8-6 in the top-of-the-table clash in Mudgee.
Speaking on The Ray Hadley Morning Show yesterday, Quinn said he would back Masters in his decision to call the game off before half-time had even been reached.
“We’ll support the referee in this,” Quinn told Hadley.
“I’ve got his report has just come through now ... and what he’s done is absolutely correct. We’ll back him on that because we don’t want to see these brawls happening.”
The first brawl broke out in the seventh minute and Masters spoke to both sides about their actions.
After a second fight, Mudgee’s Jono George and Lithgow’s Corey Willmott were sin-binned.
A third fight broke out in the 22nd minute and resulted in Lithgow halfback Josh Howarth getting 10 minutes in the bin.
The fourth fight erupted with less than eight minutes left in the half and Masters pulled the pin.
After the game Mudgee captain Mat Stott said is was a disappointing way to finish the game.
“I don’t know what to say,” Stott said.
“It’s a shame really. It’s a waste. It did get physical out there but that is what happens.”
Lithgow coach Graeme Osborne had a similar opinion.
“It’s disappointing for the fans and disappointing for the game,” Osborne said.
“It’s probably an easy way out. It was a top-of-the-table clash, two good sides, two good clubs, and unfortunately the crowd probably got a bit too riled up and perhaps encouraged players on the field.”
Hadley suggested the players and coaches from the two clubs needed to take more responsibility for what happened in Sunday’s game and Quinn agreed.
“They’re in control of their players on the field and they should do a better job,” Quinn said.
“This is one of the areas which concern us greatly, particularly in Group 10.”
Sunday’s shortened match comes almost a year after the derby between Orange CYMS and Orange Hawks was called off 25 minutes early following an ugly brawl.
The fall-out from the match was massive with the Hawks club suspended from the remainder of the 2011 competition.
Hawks’ first division and under 18s sides were later reinstated following an appeal to the CRL.
Two Hawks players and one CYMS player were also suspended for a combined 32 months.