League coach angered at league louts
By SAM BENGERsamb@gladstoneobserver.com.au
THERESE Kelly has spent 18 years associated with rugby league in Gladstone, but the behaviour of the code's most elite athletes has forced her to question the game she loves.
The sport has once again been embroiled in controversy following a drunken ramgpage by some members of the Newcastle Knights National Rugby League side in Bathurst last weekend.
A 19-year-old female university student yesterday made a formal complaint to police over an indecent assault which allegedly happened during the incident.
It's the most recent in a string of incidents which have brought the game, and some people involved with it, into disrepute.
'It makes me so angry, because of the damage they're doing to the sport,' Therese said.
'It's not the sport's fault that these players are damaging the name of the sport and making young people and parents shy away from it ? the majority of young men who play league are really angry that their role models are setting this kind of example.'
As a coach of Gladstone Valley's Under-19 side, Therese said the sport attracted a lot of young men, particularly in regional areas like Gladstone, because of the grass-roots nature of the game and the camaraderie between players.
'The 19-year-olds I coach are nothing like that ? they're good young fellas who like a bit of fun and know how to show respect for women ? these bad apples are spoiling it for the whole rugby league community,' she said.
Gladstone Valleys' Under-19s player David Bartlett said he was disappointed National Rugby League players could not behave responsibly.
'We look up to them and when they act like that it doesn't make them look good ? it's disappointing some players at that level muck around and don't take it as seriously as they should,' he said.
David said while other players' behaviour did not affect how he played the game, it still gave rugby league a bad name and was a let-down to a lot of supporters.