Call to take action against Tongan rugby player in Australia after brawl brought game into “disrepute”

By Jack Harbour

A GOLD Coast footy coach is urging Queensland Rugby officials to throw the book at an ex-Tongan international he claims was responsible for a brawl at a game at Helensvale on Saturday.

Helensvale Hogs coach Mark Dobson said former Tongan winger Pila Fifita, who was playing for Surfers Paradise at the time, stomped on a Hogs player who was on the ground before exchanging blows with Helensvale youngster Dean Brandon.

Referees issued both Fifita and Brandon with red cards but Mr Dobson said as his player neared the edge of the field, Fifita started throwing punches again before Brandon retaliated.

“Definitely Pila from Surfers was the instigator,” Mr Dobson said.

“The most difficult situation for Dean (Brandon) from Helensvale is if you’re being hit, it’s hard not to retaliate. We’re just disappointed. We’ve got clear photos of Pila (Fifita) stomping on one of our players.”

The Bulletin understands the brawl escalated when other players and spectators joined in the melee as it neared the sideline.

Surfers Paradise Rugby Union Club manager Justin Huntingdon said he did not want to comment on the incident but refuted Helensvale’s version of events.

Referees called time on the Hogs’ home game with nine minutes left on the clock.

Surfers Paradise, who have not lost a game this season, led 15-10 at the time referees deemed the match no longer “safe” to continue — a factor that led to Surfers Paradise coming away with the win.

Brandon and Fifita will both face a judiciary hearing.

The Bulletin attempted to make contact with Fifita but Surfers Paradise captain and coach Kris Burton said Fifita had asked him to speak on his behalf.

Mr Burton said the fight was likely the result of heightened tensions in a particularly hard-fought game.

“It was a physical game,” he said. “There were little cheap shots everywhere.

“We had a few spectators join and that escalated things.

“There were a few big tackles. Maybe some people got ­annoyed that they got tackled too well.”

The Queensland Rugby Union is expected to review the incident.

Gold Coast Bulletin

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