Abusive sporting spectators are being called out and labelled eggs by Rugby League Northland in a bid to change attitudes - something which has made national news.

With sideline abuse being an issue across all sports, Rugby League Northland (RLN) has taken the lead by creating the "Don't be an egg!" campaign.

To draw attention to the problem, RLN produced the "Don't be an egg!" video on their YouTube channel which draws attention to how a parent's outbursts can affect others attending a local game.

Working with the Ministry of Social Development and the "It's not OK!" programme, RLN general manager Alex Smits insists his organisation has an important part to play in preventing domestic violence.


"We've all seen examples of bad behaviour on our sidelines, whether it's from participants in the game or over-zealous supporters," Smits said.

"It spoils the experience for everyone and can be symptomatic of other behavioural problems at home. We hope that reducing the sideline niggle will also serve a purpose in the bigger picture.

"This concept fits right into New Zealand Rugby League's 'more than just a game' philosophy and one of our goals is to help make our community a better place to live in."

Smits added the campaign was asking supporters to take a look in the mirror before having an outburst at a referee or player.

He said while the example is set around a rugby league fixture, the message is just as relevant to other sports and hoped Sport Northland could also use the footage.

Former Aotearoa Maori Rugby League chairman - and Northern Board vice-chairman - Rudy Taylor felt the campaign had legs, adding it was good to see RLN keeping an eye out for the sport.

"I think it has a lot to do with people watching with a glass or can in their hands," Taylor said. "Those people should be banned from the game, or stay in the club rooms where you're able to buy alcohol.

"I don't think we need sideline abuse, we're getting the game to being semi-pro with young kids getting chances with New Zealand Rugby League getting involved."


Supporters who take aim at volunteers in sport stand no chance with Taylor, who says it should not be tolerated by parents, clubs, or other supporters of whichever sport.

"People give their time and energy into coaching these kids in the clubs, and referees are doing it voluntarily, and if you have that sort of sideline abuse it shouldn't be tolerated.

"It is wronging those individuals going to support the club or their children."

"It's not OK!" campaign manager Trish Green said it was a positive to see RLN delivering the message on behalf of all sports that sideline violence is unacceptable.

"Poor sideline behaviour is a form of violence," Green said.

"Violence is not OK anywhere - on the field, on the sideline or at home - and it's good to see this message being delivered effectively by Rugby League Northland.

"Our hope is that the video will increase understanding about violence, encourage people to talk about it and in this way, make it easier for people to get help if they are affected."

The campaign made national news on Sunday when it was featured on Maori Television current affairs show Te Kaea and has more than 4500 views on YouTube.

Watch the video here: