Canberra beats Manly on weekend of fan trouble in NRL
SYDNEY (AP) — The Canberra Raiders beat Manly 29-16 on Saturday, handing the Sea Eagles their fourth loss in five matches and their worst start to a National Rugby League season since 2009.
It was a weekend marred by spectator trouble at Sydney’s Olympic stadium in a match featuring last year’s grand finalists, South Sydney and Canterbury. Six spectators were ejected and two persons charged with assault.
NRL head of football Todd Greenberg promised life bans for any spectators who threw bottles and other objects at match officials on Friday as they left the match.
The incidents took place after a penalty was awarded against Bulldogs skipper James Graham by referee Gerard Sutton in the final minute as Souths came from behind to win 18-17 in front of a crowd of 40,523.
Sideline interchange official Darren Alchin sustained a broken shoulder blade after falling to the ground when attempting to avoid a water bottle thrown from the stands. Officials had to run from the field under the shield of security guards.
“The behavior of fans today at this game was completely unacceptable,” Greenberg said, while NRL chief executive Dave Smith added on Twitter: “The scenes ... were disgraceful. ... There is no place in the game for behavior like that.”
St. George Illawarra ended Newcastle’s unbeaten start to the season, beating the Knights 13-0 on a rainy pitch at Newcastle. Anthony Milford and Mitchell Dodds scored two tries each as the Brisbane Broncos beat the Gold Coast 26-16 for their fourth win in a row.
In the only match Sunday, the Sydney Roosters will attempt to win their fourth of five matches and keep the Cronulla Sharks without a victory this season.
There are three matches scheduled for the Easter Monday holiday to close out the fifth round — Parramatta plays the Wests Tigers, Melbourne hosts the New Zealand Warriors and Penrith takes on North Queensland.