POSSIBLE long suspensions are hanging over the Aussie rules players involved in a wild brawl on a Maryborough footy field that left one with a broken jaw and fractured eye socket.
Police and an ambulance were called after the on-field fight erupted just minutes from the end of the showdown between arch rivals the Maryborough Bears and the Hervey Bay Bombers at Granville's Bear Park on Saturday.
Bombers player Chris Hughes was knocked unconscious while about a dozen players continued to fight around him, on a night that should have been a celebration of the game's return.
The match was ended three minutes early and the crowd turned on the umpires with such ferocity that police were called to calm the hostile situation.
The brawl left 29-year-old Hughes in hospital with serious injuries, and a Maryborough player facing a tribunal on a severe striking charge.
A decision was being made last night whether Hughes should be airlifted to a Brisbane hospital for reconstructive surgery.
Senior Constable Dave Parsons from Maryborough police, who attended the incident, said it highlighted the current “one punch can kill” campaign.
“There is no place for this sort of violence anywhere in our community,” he said.
“Whether people are on a sporting ground or outside a pub, one punch can kill.”
Hervey Bay Bombers president Rod Timmins said he was appalled by what had happened to Hughes.
“There's no place whatsoever for what happened to Chris in our great game ... Chris is not in a good way at all.
“The umpires' report says Chris was punched four times in the head and kicked in it once – words cannot describe that sort of behaviour.”
Mr Timmins said his Maryborough Bears counterpart Anthony Stothard was also unimpressed.
“The Bears had beaten us for the first time in their history,” Mr Timmins said.
“He told me that he should have been celebrating with the players, not filling out an incident report.”
No charges had been laid over the incident yesterday afternoon.
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