On-field violence again reared its ugly head this week.
NRL’s prestigious State of Origin series has become the latest fiasco, with Blues captain Paul Gallen’s swinging fist against Nate Myles overshadowing an inspiring NSW victory over long-time favourites Queensland.
When the stakes are high, and the pressure is on, there has always been the expectation of a ‘bit of biff’, as it is so affectionately called by fans, as, alongside the disapproval and jeers of bad sportsmanship, exists an expectation and lust for an on-field brawl.
Addressing this mindset is a battle judiciaries and local sports teams continue to fight, and it is made all the more difficult when public figures, at the top tier of sport, demonstrate assaulting another player can only earn a couple of weeks off the field and an insignificant monetary fine.
“I believe it’s considered an acceptable thing almost for punch ups to happen in top level sport, people say it’s shameful but I know it’s the case most of the time when people talk about the game, the first thing out of their mouths is, oh did you see the punch up,” said the Illawarra Bulldogs AFL Club’s Lee Murray .
Gallen faced the NRL judiciary this week and earned a one-game ban. He will be allowed to continue in the series as Blues captain for game three.
Murray said, in the heat of the moment, people forget the implication of their actions.
“What needs to be made clearest to players it that when you aren’t at that level like the State of Origin or equivalent is that you are liable to criminal charges of assault,” he said.
“If you knock a bloke out on the field it’s not only going to be the judiciary coming after you, it’s the police as well.”
Gallen has attacked the NRL for its use of past State of Origin brawls to promote the series on television.
“When you look at all the promotions promoting Origin there’s stinks, so I hope the NRL steps in now and doesn’t allow the footage to promote the game,” he said.