They breed them real tough down-under in Australia. The "sports" of sport there have the?
They breed them real tough down-under in Australia. The "sports" of sport there have the tendency to play hard - very hard. And the rough-tough lads of the Rugby field aren't confined to the big 'uns. No The titches of the touch-down brigade give and take the knocks without mercy. Too much so say the officials of the Rugby League mini-league. They've come down like a collapsing scrum on the head of eight-year-old Martin Fletcher, a Sydney boy who played too rough just one time too many. Martin's been barred from playing in the Junior Rugby League football competition.
Martin, a hooker for the Manly Club, took his position a bit too seriously - he hooked the legs out from under another eight-year-old, felled him and reduced the lad to tears.
"Off", said the referee, in a history-making decision. Martin became the youngest player in Australia to be sent from a Rugby League field for rough play.
What happened next was that Martin was summoned to appear before a tribunal of the Manly-Warringah Junior Rugby League to explain his unsporting actions on the field. But his mother wouldn't let him go. The meeting was called for a time well after Martin is normally tucked-up for the night.
Martin's ban has resulted in a furore in Sydney sporting circles with parents accusing officialdom of attaining ridiculous levels. Not so, say the officials. They blame parents for being over-keen to turn their tots into fanatical fieldsmen at a tender age.
Young Martin's naturally a bit upset. But he plans to turn his attentions to soccer. His Rugby League days are just memories, prompted now and then with a look at his press-clippings scrap book diligently kept by his proud mother.
Tailpiece. A six-year-old boy has also been barred from another association for leaving for home immediately after a game and passing up the social events. He had 100-miles (161 kms) to travel and wanted to get home before dark!
SYNOPSIS: The Rugby League mini-league, like their grown-up counterparts don't play just for fun - they're out there to win; that's what the sport's all about. But the officials say parents are to blame for the recent roughness as they egg-on their kinds to fanatical lengths. The history-making victim of the new softening-up approach by officialdom is Martin Fletcher. Young Martin, who played hooker for Sydney's Manly Club, hooked once to often. The target he swung at was an opponents legs. Down came the player; on came the ref, and off was sent Martin. Junior League officials summoned him to appear before them and explain himself, but his mum said "No", it was after his bedtime. They made their decision. The only place Martin gets to kick a Rugby ball now is in his back garden.