SHOVING a referee has earned a Hervey Bay Seagulls under-18s player a lengthy stint on the sideline, with the Bundaberg Rugby League judiciary deciding he would be banned from competition for five years because of the incident.
But if the player completes an anger management course and spends next season among the ranks of referees as a touch judge in a junior or senior competition, his sentence could be reduced to a one-year ban, BRL president Mike Ireland said.
"The ball is in his court," Mr Ireland said.
The incident happened in the final round of the under-18s competition on August 16 against Past Brothers.
Mr Ireland said while referees sometimes made errors, it was unacceptable to physically attack a referee.
"We can't have referees being pushed or hit," he said.
The Hervey Bay Seagulls club was contacted for a comment but no response had been received at the time of going to press.
Earlier this year, a rugby league player was suspended for life while competing for the Wallangarra Rams in the Border Rugby League competition.
The player was penalised for using his elbow in a tackle, but instead of moving back into the defensive line the player allegedly punched the referee twice in the head.