NON-STOP: Bus driver John Harper drove out of Yamba as missiles rained down on the vehicle carrying Casino rugby juniors.
NON-STOP: Bus driver John Harper drove out of Yamba as missiles rained down on the vehicle carrying Casino rugby juniors.

Run out of town

By SHAN GOODWIN

Drunken mob' blamed for turning Casino junior rugby visit into a nightmare

A CASINO junior rugby player was punched in the head and players and parents were pelted with rocks and full stubbies after Far North Coast competition games at Yamba on Friday night.

The Casino group was attacked by what they described as a 'drunken mob' as they boarded their bus to leave Yamba Oval.

Bus driver John Harper said he wasn't game to stop the bus as missiles flew.

During the wild scenes, a 17-year-old Casino player was punched. He was in a satisfactory condition yesterday.

The Under-13, 15 and 17 Casino teams were playing the Yamba Buccaneers and the games marked the end of the Under-17 season for Yamba.

Casino parent Glenn Foster said about 150 spectators, mostly 16 and 17-year-olds, 'were drunk well before the game' and it was obvious they were there to see a fight.

"Have you ever seen 150 people turn up for a junior rugby game?" he said.

Casino club officials yesterday were assessing the damage to the bus and said they would try to recoup costs from the Yamba club.

Mr Foster stressed the Yamba officials did a 'great job trying to halt the situation'.

"They stood outside the bus to shield the Casino people getting on. They didn't have to do that," he said.

He said the fact Yamba Oval was a public space and couldn't be fenced off was a problem.

"If the police had've come out and put the cleaners through them when they were first called, it would've prevented a lot of the drama," he said.

Mr Foster also said parents needed to be aware of what their teenagers were doing because sporting fixtures were not supervised.

Buccaneers secretary Andrew Bennett agreed the incident was disappointing and said it was an example of problem drinking among young people.

Both clubs were keen to distance the game from brawling.

Mr Foster said: "We have to remember that we have 40 kids out there playing sport and that's 40 kids who are not running around drinking on a Friday night."

Yamba police yesterday were unavailable for comment but told Grafton's Daily Examiner on Monday, police were tied up at other jobs at the time of the brawl.



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