Player requires CPR after on-field brawl

BAD LOOK: The Illawarra Rugby League judiciary will closely scutinise footage of a brawl in an under 18s match at Helensburgh on Saturday.
BAD LOOK: The Illawarra Rugby League judiciary will closely scutinise footage of a brawl in an under 18s match at Helensburgh on Saturday.

THE Illawarra Rugby League will closely review footage of an on-field brawl at Helensburgh that saw a player require CPR after he stopped breathing on Saturday.

The NSW ambulance chopper and local paramedics attended Rex Jackson Oval midway through an Under 18s clash between Helensburgh and Collegians Red when a Tigers player collapsed in aftermath to a brawl involving several players from both sides.

The player was felled during the fight and was left short of breath. He was treated on-field by members of both clubs who commenced CPR when he briefly stopped breathing. He responded quickly before ambulance personnel arrived and the player was given oxygen and stabilised.

He was subsequently transported by ambulance to St George Hospital with an airlift not required.

IDRL general manager Chris Bannerman was at the ground and praised the response of members from both clubs who initially treated the player, and the handling of the incident by ground staff.

“Midway through the second half of the under 18s match a fairly major incident occurred,” Bannerman said.

"There was an allegation that the player concerned was punched. He fell to the ground and when he got back up he became short of breath and at one stage stopped breathing..

“I would say the incident was managed very well, their was a nurse there who responded quickly. A chopper was called and ambulance also arrived and the player was treated by paramedics.

“After initially treating him they were satisfied the chopper wasn't required and he was transported to hospital by ambulance.

“Reports are that he's now doing OK which is the best outcome we could have hoped for.”

Police also attended the scene but it's understood they will not be pursuing the matter any further.

The match was abandoned with Helensburgh ahead 34-6, with BartTV Sports footage to be closely scutinised by the match review committee on Monday.

With the matter yet to be fully reviewed, Bannerman didn't want to preempt that process but expects some charges will be laid.

“The incident will be subject to our regular match review process and anyone found to have breached the laws of the game will be charged by the judiciary committee,” Bannerman said.

“Given what has occurred I would imagine some people will have a case to answer.”

While Saturday's scuffle was an entirely on-field occurrence, it's the second unsavoury incident to mar rugby league clashes in the Illawarra-South Coast region in the space of seven days.

The Group Seven judiciary on Thursday cited a total of seven players in relation to a fight that broke out off the field following Warilla's win over Shellharbour Stingrays last Saturday.

Those players are set to face judiciary hearings over the next fortnight with the incident still subject investigation by Lake Illawarra Police. 

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