Junior banned for punching referee has sentenced reduced

THE Bundaberg Junior Rugby League player from Waves Tigers who was banned for life after punching a referee had his sentence reduced dramatically on appeal.

Playing in his first game of competitive rugby league when he punched the referee he received a life ban (25 years) which was reduced to 10 years with the opportunity to apply to play again in two years.

The initial punishment of being banned as a spectator from all rugby league games for 15 years also was reduced.

If successful he would be on an eight-year good-behaviour bond once back on the field.

In addition, if he completes a referee's or touch judge's course and serves in either role with the Bundaberg Junior Rugby League, each year served would be taken from the good-behaviour bond.

One specific condition was he had to attend anger management classes before any application is heard.

Bundaberg Junior Rugby League (BJRL) president Paul Barritt said he was happy with the result of the appeal and the decision gave the player a chance to redeem himself.

"It was a good outcome all round. We (the BJRL committee) were not about to throw the kid on the rugby-league scrapheap," Mr Barritt said.

"It's about giving him a chance to put a good foot forward and hopefully he learned a lesson from this."

Mr Barritt also added playing the sport gave people chances they don't get from everyday day life and he was glad one mistake didn't take that opportunity away from the player.

"Rugby league is not just about playing the game," he said.

"It's about learning life lessons as well."

The referee can appeal the BJRL's decision to reduce the sentence and has until the end of the week to lodge any objection he has to the Central Division of the Queensland Rugby League.

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