Astley Cup brawlers suspended as investigation into rugby league fight continues

PLAYERS from the Dubbo College senior campus and Orange High School rugby league teams have been suspended for their involvement in the fight during the second half of their Astley Cup match on Thursday.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education and Communities confirmed both schools have commenced action against players who engaged in violent conduct, with the worst offenders suspended and others excluded from future school sporting representation.

The spokesperson couldn't confirm how many players had been suspended or if one student had been expelled as a consequence of the brawl, but said the investigation is continuing.

The Country Rugby League and National Rugby League are also conducting their investigations, as are the NSW Police, and the schools involved have reconfirmed they will support any sanctions invoked by the Country Rugby League (CRL) or charges laid by police. They have also conveyed their willingness to assist with police and CRL investigations.

All players involved in the Astley Cup match were stood down by the Country Rugby League last Friday, disrupting club games and the CRL is hoping to conclude their investigations today and make a decision on the futures of the players involved, so Group 10 and 11 clubs can go into this week's matches knowing their line-ups.

Every organisation involved has condemned the fight, including the Department of Education, who said they were disappointed by the "unacceptable incident which is completely against the values of the schools and the spirit of the Astley Cup".

However on Monday CRL chief executive Terry Quinn cautioned against tarring all players involved in the match with the same brush. He said as bad as the scene looked, many of the players involved were trying to break up the fight.

He is predicting the number of players who are suspended from club football will be relatively low, with those who were most violent or rushing in to take part expected to be most heavily punished.


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