NRL head of football Todd Greenberg has promised to ban for life Canterbury fans who threw projectiles at match officials on Friday as they exited ANZ Stadium.
A thrilling clash between last year’s grand finalists was marred by violent scenes that led to six people being ejected and reports of a 17-year-old South Sydney fan being attacked outside the ground.
The incidents took place after a penalty was awarded against Bulldogs skipper James Graham by Gerard Sutton in the final minute as Souths came from behind to win 18-17 in front of a crowd of 40,523.
Greenberg, who spent five years in charge of Canterbury, said the scenes after the final siren were unacceptable and the culprits would be found.
“I have been saying for several months, and today highlights it, that we need to put more respect and more attention around our match officials and referees,” Greenberg said.
“The behaviour of fans today at this game was completely unacceptable.
“I will be having as much dialogue as needed with the club, stadium and authorities to make sure appropriate penalties are handed out.”
Sideline interchange official Darren Alchin was taken to hospital with a broken shoulder blade after slipping over in an attempt to avoid a water bottle thrown from the stands.
“He’s in a pretty bad way. That is not acceptable,” Greenberg said.
“There are life bans available for us under the rules and we will work with the stadium, with the club and with the police to find those culprits.
“People come to the football to enjoy the football. We have a lot of people working on the sidelines and what we saw at the end of that game is unacceptable.”
Canterbury have a long history of poor behaviour from their supporters but, under Greenberg and his successor Raelene Castle, the club have worked hard to weed out troublemakers.
“I know this club better than most from having worked here over a long period of time,” he said.
“This club has done a great job over a long time to make sure the behaviour of their fans is very good.”
Canterbury prop David Klemmer was sin-binned late in the game for swearing at Sutton and Greenberg said it was the right decision.
However, he stopped short of accusing the Canterbury players of inciting the crowd with Graham and Klemmer surrounding the whistleblower on the field.
“I understand emotions get high but there are consequences for poor behaviour on the field and one of them was sent to the sin bin,” he said.
“There are so many marginal calls in games that will get debated and that’s a great part of the game.
“Players are responsible for their behaviour on the field.”