Canterbury will move to significantly tighten security for their remaining Belmore Sportsground fixture in 2016, after Canberra players were targeted by a bottle thrower on Monday night at the suburban venue.
An increased police and security presence is certain to greet fans for the round-25 fixture against North Queensland at the iconic ground.
Increased lighting and mobile CCTV cameras are also likely to be brought in.
Police appealed for help on Tuesday in identifying the perpetrator who tossed a glass bourbon bottle at the Raiders’ interchange bench during the second half of Canberra’s emotion-charged round-five win.
Efforts by the Bulldogs and police to catch the culprit, who fled the ground after the incident, have been stymied by uncooperative witnesses and a lack of CCTV footage. The bottle narrowly missed Raiders players on the sideline, instead shattering as it hit one of the club’s exercise bikes.
“We’ve since spoken to a number of witnesses but, at this stage, I wouldn’t say that we have anybody particularly in mind in respect of the offence,” said superintendent Michael McLean on Tuesday afternoon.
The bottle was thrown from the Bulldogs members’ area in the western concourse and club boss Raelene Castle said on Monday night Canterbury were confident they knew who threw it.
“I won’t comment on the club’s position last night,” Superintendent McLean said.
“Certainly, they (the Bulldogs) are assisting us with our inquiries. All I would say is I’m not satisfied beyond any reasonable doubt … at a situation where I could say or particularly identify a particular person.”
McLean asked fans to come forward with any mobile phone photos or video which could help police identify the thrower.
As a result of the incident, police and security are set to be out in force for the Cowboys clash, as Johnathan Thurston returns to the ground where his career began.
There will also be increased lighting at the entrance to the ground after the bottle was smuggled in. It is understood broadcaster Fox Sports decided not to hire lighting at a cost of $100,000 for in, and around, the entrance to Belmore Sportsground on Monday after consultations with the Bulldogs.
“They can’t get glass into that place unless you’ve snuck it in. I can only assume that person has snuck it in,” Castle said.
Belmore Sportsground isn’t equipped with CCTV cameras. Mobile equipment might be brought in for the Cowboys match.
“Certainly, it does make it more difficult (to identify the culprit). We rely heavily on CCTV these days in respect to our investigations,” Superintendent McLean said.
Police questioned a number of men during and after the game over the incident, which brought back memories of last year’s ‘Bad Friday’ crowd trouble at ANZ Stadium.
Canterbury successfully used CCTV footage last year to identify those who showered match officials with bottles following the spiteful Good Friday clash with South Sydney.