AFL match assault was ‘cowardly’: Barnett

An assault on a woman at an AFL match in Perth was “a cowardly act” that’s embarrassing for Western Australia, Premier Colin Barnett says.

An off-duty policewoman was struck in the throat during Fremantle’s loss to Hawthorn on Friday night in front of her children after she told a man to tone down his language.

A 24-year-old man has been charged with common assault and disorderly behaviour in a public place, and two counts of obstructing a public officer.

“It detracted from what was a great weekend of Australian rules football played here, and I just feel very sorry for that,” Mr Barnett told reporters on Sunday.

“It’s embarrassing for Western Australia, and for many people, it probably spoiled what was a terrific weekend.”

The premier said the offender would face consequences, including a ban from the oval.

Asked whether the man should also be banned from the new Perth Stadium, Mr Barnett said such decisions were up to managers of stadiums and sporting codes.

“But certainly, I think people that behave like that lose their right to come long and enjoy big sporting events,” he said.

Federal opposition leader Bill Shorten also condemned the assault, tweeting on Saturday: “For the out-of-line actions of this yobbo to come at a time we are having a national conversation about violence against women is shocking.”

Mr Barnett, who is an Eagles supporter, said it was disappointing that the Dockers missed out on a chance at winning the flag because they were the best team over the whole season, but added that West Coast were in great form.

The premier said it would be tough to beat Hawthorn at the MCG, but he would be in Melbourne to watch the match, stressing that he was buying his own plane ticket.

But he refrained from issuing a challenge to the Victorian premier after he was “humiliated” two years ago when the Dockers lost to the Hawks and he was forced to don a Hawthorn jersey while spruiking Victoria’s tourist attractions to shoppers in Perth.

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