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No room for racism in rugby league



[h=1]Greater Brisbane Junior Rugby League to introduce a zero-tolerance approach to racism[/h]
[*] Chris Garry
[*] The Sunday Mail (Qld)
[*] March 02, 2013 11:00PM
Tackling the big issues: Shane McNally (left) with QRL chief Rob Moore. Picture: Adam Armstrong Source: The Sunday Mail (Qld)

A CRACKDOWN on teenage racists and the adult "safety officers'' who incite fights are among measures introduced to Brisbane's junior competitions this season, after last year's grand final brawls.

Sixteen police officers will also become "ingrained'' with league clubs south of Brisbane, even attending game days, as part of "Project Logan''.
It will be a new, stricter world when the Greater Brisbane Junior Rugby League season kicks off this week, with officials reacting strongly in the wake of September's grand-final day which descended into chaos.
Dozens of teens and a handful of parents brawled in under-15 and under-18 games, with the incidents making national headlines.
Initially, 58 players from the St Brendans, Wests Centenary and Waterford clubs were handed year-long bans.
After a lengthy appeals process, the sentences were suspended with all players free to start this season.

The parents who ran on to the field to fight are still being chased as clubs slowly co-operate, with a hearing likely late this month.
All the teens involved in the brawls attended a mandatory life skills lecture last Tuesday, where Maroons legend Petero Civoniceva inspired them through his life story.
In the messy aftermath it emerged League Safe officers meant to administer first aid and water were encouraging teens to fight, reminding them of incidents from past games.
The number of League Safe officials allowed on the field has been cut from two to one, and greater checks and training will ensure the right people are in those roles.
"One of the things we found is the League Safe officers were on the field too often and were encouraging inappropriate behaviour,'' GBJRL operations manager Shane McNally said. "In those grand finals they played a role (in the brawls), egging the kids on.
"Most of them do the right thing but there's been a few reports of them telling kids to do the wrong thing.''
Judiciary powers have also been extended in an attempt to ensure brawlers are brought to justice.
Previously, those who joined fights were charged with bringing the game into disrepute, a vague rule which was easily disputed.
Now they will be charged with joining a fight.
"We now have the power to charge a player for running into a brawl,'' McNally said. "Previously we were limited in how we could act when there was a brawl.
"Now it's not just the third man in that we can charge, we can get the fourth, fifth and sixth man in.''
There were fears January's race riots in Logan could impact junior league in Brisbane.
The code dominates the area and has produced a legion of NRL stars, including Queensland and Australia captain Cameron Smith.
Queensland Rugby League officials want the game to be a pro-active force in Logan, fostering respect among the community.
Part of that plan sees referees instructed to have a zero-tolerance approach to racism.
Typically, it is up to a player or club to make a complaint about racist language but referees will now take further action regardless of whether a club or player has an issue.
"We had a referees meeting last week and one of the things I really made sure they understood was racial vilification would not be tolerated,'' South East Division chairman Brad Tallon said. "A lot of those men (involved in the Logan riots) played and still play league.
"We want our game to bring people together.''
In a week dominated by young league players struggling under the weight of expectation, the establishment of Project Logan is another example that the game is committed to helping its participants.
The program is the brainchild of Logan Senior Sergeant Mike Pearson. It sees eight clubs in the Logan region assigned two police officers to mentor their under 14 and 15 teams.
The policemen, preferably young, become part of the club's fabric improving their relationships with the community while the teenagers see that officers are more than a uniform.
"Rugby league and the police force have a common belief in building good citizens,'' Pearson said. "We have already had great interest from several young policemen.
"This will help young men have mentors and further respect for the police officers in their community.
"Rugby league is about building men and I think this program will really help.'' 


best thing that can happen to the game.Well done. 


Good luck but very hard to enforce.Duty officials/referees getting abused.Duty officials can only ask the spectators to stop swearing or stop the abuse & if they continue not much he can do.I am sure if he walks upto them and says what is your name so i can put a report in about you. All he will get is more abuse.Good idea but very hard to enforce. I dont think police have the resources to put one or two officers at every junior league grounds over a week end. 

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