No punches pulled as Astley Cup brawlers condemned and suspended

COUNTRY Rugby League (CRL) chief executive officer Terry Quinn has slammed the actions of those involved in the Astley Cup brawl, stating rugby league has no place for the kind of behaviour that took place at Dubbo a fortnight ago.

Following an almost cryptic press release issued late Thursday afternoon detailing little more than when the judicial process took place, Quinn yesterday provided some clarity to the stance CRL has taken against the teenage brawlers from both Orange High School and Dubbo Senior College.

After a judiciary hearing in Wellington on Monday, four players from Dubbo and two from Orange will serve suspensions ranging between two weeks and until the end of the 2014 season.

A notable black eye for the code, Quinn said the Astley Cup stoush was not what the game stood for.

“We don’t condone it,” Quinn fired.

“Rugby league is supposed to be played in the right spirit, and you only have to look at the no punch rule in the State of Origin this year to see exciting games of footy don’t need punch-ups. 

THE BIG PICTURE: ASTLEY CUP BRAWL COULD HAUNT THE CRL

“We don’t condone that sort of behaviour at all.”

On the final day of the 2014 Astley Cup, won by Orange High, a large contingent of players from both rugby league teams became embroiled in an ugly brawl at Dubbo’s Caltex Park on Friday, June 27.

Beamed across national television that night, the matter was handed to CRL officials to deal with.

All players involved in the game were stood down immediately, but only yesterday were the findings, all be them brief, released.

Central West Rugby Union chief executive officer Peter Veenstra said the 15-a-side game will be honouring a cross-code agreement banishing suspended players from all rugby codes.

“Absolutely, our registrar for juniors has been in touch with both Group 11 and Group 10 and they’re going to inform us as to what the sanctions, if any, will be,” Veenstra said, with some players turning to rugby union in the last two weeks while stood down from rugby league in Western Division.

“If then any of those players are registered with juniors or colts then we’ll be honouring the ARU policy in place.”

nick.mcgrath@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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