Avondale to appeal grand final sanctions

RUGBY UNION

Avondale will appeal a $1000 fine by the Illawarra District Rugby Union (IDRU) after the judiciary completed its investigation into unsavoury incidents in last year's grand final.

Club president David Brace didn't wish to comment on specific incidents ahead of the appeal but questioned the severity of the fine and 12-match suspension handed to Wombats reserve-grade player Junior Uelesi.

"All I'll say at this stage is that we'll be appealing the severity of the judiciary's findings," Brace said.

Uelesi was suspended for his role in a fight with a group of Camden supporters midway through the second-grade grand final at WIN Stadium in response to an alleged racial slur.

In addition to the $1000 fine, Avondale will be required to provide another $1000 as a bond to ensure there is no further breaches of the union's code of conduct in the next three seasons.

Camden did not escape scrutiny, with several supporters allegedly responsible for racial slurs banned from attending any future IDRU matches.

The club was provided with photographs and video footage identifying the perpetrators and will be required to assist the IDRU in locating them.

The Rams will also be required to pay a $1000 bond to ensure their ongoing assistance in locating the rogue fans and ensure that they remain banned from matches.

They must also provide the IDRU with a copy of the club's policy regarding racial vilification.

In addition to the sanctions, executive members of both clubs were ordered to meet before the start of the 2014 season to settle any lingering issues.

The IRU was unable to issue specific sanctions in relation to a brawl between Avondale and Camden fans that erupted outside the ground immediately after the first-grade match as police video footage was not made available to the judiciary.

The incident prompted the IDRU to propose a host of measures for future finals matches, including a restriction on alcohol sales before noon, a greater professional security presence, the appointment of match-day controllers from each club and a review of the code of conduct regarding racial issues.

Despite his club's intention to appeal the sanctions handed down by the judiciary, Brace threw his support behind the proposed district-wide measures.

"We wholeheartedly support the other recommendations for the district," Brace said.

"If a lot of them had been in place at the time [grand final] this probably wouldn't have happened."

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