League: Junior finals may be scrapped after brawls

League officials are considering scrapping future junior finals in Brisbane in the aftermath of two vicious brawls last month.

A 17-year-old Waterford club player has been banned for life while 56 other junior players - some who never threw a punch - have been banned for a year by the Greater Brisbane Junior Rugby League judiciary.

The brawls erupted in the under-15 final between West Centenary and St Brendans and the under-18 final between Waterford and Redcliffe played at suburban Wacol on September 15.

The 17-year-old player was found guilty of stomping on a rival's head.

A teenage spectator, who charged onto the field along with a number of parents, has also been banned until 2015.

Every player listed in the 19-man West Centenary, St Brendans and Waterford teams was banned for one year by the judiciary, which found Redcliffe did not have a case to answer.

Operations manager Shane McNally said the bans were a statement that the league was taking a stronger stance on violence.

"We have lost 58 league players next year because of this but we hope our stance will bring at least an extra 100 players into the game," McNally told News Ltd.

"We are sending a strong message. At the moment the clubs feel they are not responsible for the behaviour of their players and supporters and we need to get the message through that they are.

"Unfortunately there are players who have been banned who may feel they have been dealt with harshly but we chose to ban the entire team to send a message. Allowing such behaviour to go unpunished would send the wrong message to all children and parents."

McNally said consideration was being given to scrapping finals, with the premiers decided by which team finishes with the most points during the season.

The bans were met with a mixed reaction from league identities.

"I am all for getting violence out of the game, but perhaps there's other ways to go about it than severe bans," said former Australian captain Darren Lockyer. "Kids at that age deserve leniency, especially if they are first-time offenders."

Former Australian halfback Tommy Raudonikis, who was involved in some ugly on-field incidents during his career, said the penalties were "too harsh".

"It is awful what happened but kicking them out of the game's not right."

- AAP

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