Topic: Rugby

Are you a sports sideline supporter or spoiler?

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

Around 800 rugby games are played in Auckland every Saturday, but one game resulted in a boy being sent to Middlemore Hospital after an on-field fight took place involving players and supporters.  

The incident has urged concerned parents and organisations to speak against sideline abuse.

It's a sport many of us grow up watching or playing.  But when things turn ugly and get out of hand, it's not a pretty sight.

That's exactly what happened when a fight broke out after a rugby game between Ōtāhuhu College and Tangaroa College on the weekend, resulting in a 15-year-old boy being rushed to Middlemore Hospital suffering from a head concussion.

Inspector Dave from Counties-Manukau Police says, "I've been at Counties Manukau for 27years and this is not a new phenomenon, unfortunately it happens a lot too much, this is not a south Auckland problem, it's an international problem it happens everywhere."

Rei Samuel (Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei) has three children, two of them play rugby.  He says people dedicated to controlling parent behaviour could be effective.

He says, "For me, it's great to have people patrolling how parent support their kids on the field in a positive and caring way."

Auckland Rugby League's CEO says more initiatives and awareness needs to go into how supporters behave.  John Ackland says, "All sports around the country need to have more awareness around supporter behaviour, we all need a good hard look at it."

But for now, Rei will continue to support his three kids in sport with a positive attitude, with the hope of changing the mindset of some supporters.