Sheep footy okay by RSPCA
THE video referee has ruled. Sheep footy has been given the green light by the RSPCA after reviewing a video of the event from last month’s Casino Show.
Lismore-based RSPCA officer Alistair Hill said he had taken a close look at the tape and couldn’t find any breaches under the Act.
“I can understand people’s perceptions and concerns, but as no sheep were tackled and the rugby players were well-trained, this particular case has got the green light, no problem,” he said.
When quizzed on possible future fixtures, Mr Hill could see no problem as long as participants ‘know what to do and do it properly’.
Last month, a specially-trained 10-man team comprising Casino RSM Rugby League and Casino Bulls Rugby Union players took on a five-sheep opposition in the centre ring at the show in a game developed by animal trainer and coach D’Arcy Martin. The game caused a storm of controversy, bringing it to the attention of the RSPCA.
Sydney-based Mr Martin was ‘bloody relieved’ when contacted by The Northern Star yesterday, as he had been getting requests from shows around the country to bring the event to their towns.
“I’ve had calls from Brisbane, Ipswich, Canberra, and we’d be willing to do more on the North Coast. Just give me time to get over this first,” he laughed.
Mr Martin is a respected animal trainer who has taken his brand of sheep and cattle dog footy to the pinnacle of world rugby – the opening act at the Bledisloe Cup a few years ago.
Casino captain Joey Mohammed had been sweating on the RSPCA ‘judiciary’ ruling and was stoked with the outcome.
The boys may now get the chance to equal the score after being completely ‘bleaten’ by the sheep last time.