POLL: Orange High's Astley Cup victory party soured by rugby league brawl

BOOTS AND ALL: Orange High's Emily McDonald (left) tackles Dubbo Senior College's Jessica Fuller in their Astley Cup girls' football match. Photo: LOUISE DONGES

BOOTS AND ALL: Orange High's Emily McDonald (left) tackles Dubbo Senior College's Jessica Fuller in their Astley Cup girls' football match. Photo: LOUISE DONGES

ORANGE High wasn’t celebrating on Thursday after their Astley Cup tie with Dubbo Senior College was marred by a brawl in the rugby league.

It was meant to be special day as it was the first time since 2006 Orange High had claimed the inter-school competition, which is contested annually by Orange High, Dubbo Senior College and Bathurst High.

Instead, Orange High Astley Cup coordinator Tegan Dray said the students were shell-shocked by what happened during the league game, the final event of the tie.

“It was a very unfortunate end to what has been a great couple of days for us,” Dray said.

“We’re trying to focus on the positives.”

Orange had claimed the Cup midway through Thursday’s opening event, the athletics, which they won 64-36, thanks to their unbeatable overall points lead.

They then caused upsets by winning the boys’ and girls’ football games, 1-nil and 2-nil respectively, against their more highly fancied Dubbo opponents.

Dubbo had the upper hand in the rugby league, 28-6, before the game disintegrated.

With roughly 15 minutes remaining in the match, push-and-shove following a tackle erupted into players running from all parts of the field and throwing punches, resulting in the match being abandoned.

The fight spilled from the field of play across the sideline and towards the Bruce Neads Grandstand where it continued and there were even reports one student, who was in attendance as a spectator, leaped over the fence and engaged in the violent incident.

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Referees, coaches and teachers intervened and separated the teenagers before guiding each set of students towards either end of the grandstand.

The referees sent three players, two from Dubbo College and one from Orange High, from the field of play before the decision was made between referees and coaches to abandon the game.

Prior to the league, Dray said the event in Dubbo had been outstanding.

“We had a great feeling. The atmosphere was awesome. The events were really enjoyable,” she said.

“Hopefully when we get home we’ll be able to celebrate.”

In Wednesday’s first day of play, Orange went through unbeaten, winning the tennis, netball, basketball and hockey. This gave the visitors a 297.5-102.5 points lead.

Midway through yesterday’s athletics, Orange had enough points to claim the Astley Cup and they went on to win the event 64-36.

Dray said the students relaxed into things then.

“The kids played with no pressure,” she said.

Brock Mate, who is usually a goalkeeper, moved into the field and scored the only goal for Orange to win the boys’ football 1-nil.

School captain Meaghan Kempson bagged a double to help Orange also claim the girls’ football 2-nil.

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