Fifitas handed 12-month junior league ban

Cronulla forwards Andrew and David Fifita have been banned from Penrith junior rugby league matches for 12 months after abusing match officials.

The brothers are also set to face a significant ban from the NRL over the incident.

Former Kangaroo Andrew Fifita is alleged to have said “I’ll smash you” to a referee over an on-field issue involving his brother David in the Penrith junior league in Glenwood on Saturday.

The alleged incident is the subject of an investigation by Sharks management, with the NRL asserting they would take a zero tolerance approach towards abuse of referees by first grade players.

Andrew Fifita was said to be upset after the referee didn’t stop the game for an injured player.

The Fifita twins have five days to decide if they will appeal the ban.

Andrew Fifita played in the Sharks’ upset win over Canterbury at Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday, after news of the allegations broke.

Former leading referee Bill Harrigan has called for the duo to be banned for a year from the NRL, if the allegations are proven.

Harrigan, who refereed 10 grand finals, 21 State of Origin fixtures and 22 Test matches, said the Fifita brothers needed to be made an example of, if they were found guilty.

“It should be a long time out of the game,” Harrigan told Triple M radio.

“Because that’s what they are saying about anyone out there approaching referees, and trying to retain young referees over the abuse they all cop.

“To cop it from a first grader to say `I’ll smash you’ or something similar if that is what he has said. To me it has to be rubbed out to set an example, rubbed out for 12 months.

Harrigan said retaining young referees continued to be a problem for the NRL because of the poor treatment they receive.

“Out there at park football where these young referees don’t have any security like first graders do … they shouldn’t be fearing, they shouldn’t be worrying about people coming up to them and abusing them,” he said.

“Every time you see someone coming up to you, you start to feel intimidated or panic about it, you start to think is this bloke going to have a go at me.

“If two footballers walked up to you, first grade footballers that are well known and they say something which was something in a derogatory way, well then there has to be a heavy punishment.”

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