EDITORIAL: It's practically a favourite Australian pastime, bagging the referee.
Referees are like anyone else - only human and capable of making mistakes.
Expressing a bit of verbal frustration with the referee is something we see commonly both on our television screens and on our sporting grounds and it's not always pleasant or justifiable.
But it goes to a whole other level when an attack on a referee becomes physical, as it did at Bundaberg's Salter Oval a few weeks ago.
A Hervey Bay Seagulls under-18s player shoved a referee at the conclusion of a match against Past Brothers on August 16 and on Saturday he was banned from playing rugby league anywhere in Australia for five years.
Getting physical with a referee is completely unacceptable behaviour, but I believe the powers that be, including Bundaberg Rugby League president Mike Ireland, have acted with great fairness in allowing this young player to potentially return to the game after just a year.
If the young man completes an anger management course and volunteers as a linesman in a junior or senior competition next season, then his suspension could be reduced to 12 months.
It may do him some good to see what life is like on the other side of the coin during his time volunteering as a linesman.
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