POLL: Police involved as rugby league brawl mars Astley Cup competition

A STUDENT was taken to hospital on Thursday following a violent brawl in the boys’ Astley Cup rugby league match at Caltex Park Dubbo which has overshadowed the annual tri-school sporting event.

With roughly 15 minutes remaining in the match between Dubbo College senior campus and Orange High School 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.

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.

A spokesperson from Dubbo police confirmed officers had been called to an incident at Caltex Park, however no further details were released while a NSW Ambulance spokesperson said they were called to the scene about 3.40pm to treat a 17-year-old boy for a head laceration. He was taken by ambulance to Dubbo Base Hospital.

Dubbo College teacher and coach of the rugby league side Craig May side said it was a disappointing way to end the match and the Astley Cup competition but said those involved would be disciplined.

"It was only the actions of a couple of kids that put a dampener on it," May said.

"It's not a whole thing it was only two or three kids involved and it escalated with a lot of people grabbing and shoving.

A Department of Education and Communities spokesperson made a comment shortly after the incident.

"The Department of Education and Communities and the schools involved in the Astley Cup are disappointed by the behaviour of the players involved in this unacceptable incident," the statement read.

"It is completely against the values of the schools and the spirit of the Astley Cup.

"The schools will fully investigate the incident and any student involved will be disciplined appropriately.

"They will co-operate fully with any investigations that rugby league authorities or the police consider necessary and support any action they feel appropriate.

The violent incident marred an otherwise successful two days of competition with Orange High School dominating as they won seven of the eight sports available to win the event for the first time since 2006.


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