A major senior rugby final ended in uproar on Saturday after a group of players reportedly assaulted the cheering mother of one of the opposing team's players.
Suburbs Rugby Club's Derrick Soqeta said his teammate's mother was celebrating her son scoring a try late in their home game at West Auckland's Shadbolt Park when several players from the opposing Otahuhu Rugby Club "jumped the fence" and began punching and kicking her.
The cowering mother was trying to protect her young son from getting hit, Soqeta said. An older woman, thought to be the teammate's sister, was also attacked as she tried to help her mother, he claimed.
"She was just protecting her son," Soqeta said. "I ran after them to try to stop those guys from attacking her.
"It was really sad, it broke my heart because I've got kids myself."
Soqeta's teammates jumped into the fray and "told them to piss off", he said.
"It's not our values, that's not the way we live."
Tempers had already flared earlier when a brawl broke out between the teams after the try.
Suburbs won the Premier Development final 38-18, taking home the Peter Fatialofa Memorial Trophy, but it was a "pretty sad" end to the season, Soqeta said.
Few shook hands at the end.
"Most of the boys just avoided it. We didn't want anything else to happen. We were already on bad terms and we didn't want it to escalate."
Police received several calls about fighting at the field around 2.15pm, including a report that a man had punched a woman.
In a statement, police confirmed they attended incident.
"No arrests have been made and inquiries are continuing."
Police encouraged anyone who had information or witnessed the event to contact police on (09) 839 0600.
Otahuhu president John Roache said he had heard the game had been stopped early after a fight but was not aware of the details.
He said until now, he had been proud of how the team had conducted itself on and off the field. He couldn't recall them getting a single red or yellow card this season.
But if the claims were true, he was "ashamed and very disappointed" and the players responsible would be disciplined and possibly banned.
"I don't know what the real story is but punching a woman is a no, no, no," he said.
"I apologise to the woman, the family involved and the club for whatever happened. We're not going to take that from any of our players."
Suburbs chairman Stefan Crooks was not at the match but said the incident was "shameless" and "a hell of a shock".
"It's supposed to be a celebration of rugby, not carnage."
He understood there were no major injuries but an official complaint would be laid with the Auckland Rugby Union. The referee's match report would also clarify what had happened.
"A lot of things were said in the heat of the moment. It just comes back to being senseless. Our guys had a lot of seniors at the game who pulled our guys back to try and keep that calm approach."