Salford Red Devils players wrestled with their own supporters following crowd trouble during their Easter Monday fixture away to Huddersfield Giants.
It has been reported that after hearing the cries of women and children coming from the away stand at the John Smiths stadium players rushed to their aid.
Junior Sa’u and Justin Carney were among those who grappled with unruly supporters as they sought to portect their own infant children, reports the Daily Mail.
Eye witnesses have reported a minority of the travelling support had caused trouble most of the afternoon, and are not true representatives of the club.
Devils fan Lesley Kaneen told the Mail:
There were young children crying their eyes out, frightened to death – it was just horrible. The wife of Junior Sa’u was in the crowd clutching her young baby to her chest and you’ve got these idiots behind stupid and pushing and shoving.
They were a bunch of mindless idiots in the crowd who have nothing at all to do with Salford and they were out to cause trouble from the start.
It’s a tradition for the players to come over to the fans at the end of the game after they’ve won and to the credit of the families of the players, they actually sit with all the fans. But they were being pushed and shoved by these thugs and the players, rightly in my mind, jumped in to defend them.
Giants fan Oliver Rounding reported:
It all kicked off at the end of the game when the Salford players started walking over to clap their fans and one of those in the Salford end jumped over the barriers and ran over to them but he was stopped by the stewards, and a certain group of Salford fans got angry about it.
Controversial Devils owner Marwan Koukash issued the following statement:
I want to apologise to the Huddersfield Giants and to all the decent fans at the game today.
We will work closely with the Giants and the RFL in our investigation and this minority of thugs responsible will be identified and dealt with by the Club in the coming days. There is no place in Rugby League for them.
The congested Easter schedule has been criticised by professionals, and clearly there is a minority of followers who cannot cope with so many fixtures in such a short space of time either.