Brisbane Broncos’ prop, Glenn Lazarus blasted Wests Magpies’ supporters for their parochial support of the Australian Rugby League cause during a match at Campbelltown Stadium.
‘Lazo’ said the fans were fired up on a cocktail of Super League hatred, and had abused Broncos’ players while they were warming up; during the game and afterwards, when they were walking to the team bus.
One spectator even tried to hit Lazarus over the head with a team flag when he was on his way to the sin bin.
“Thankfully security did a good job of protecting me,” Lazarus said. “You expect a hard time when you travel to Campbelltown, but it’s even hotter now, with the fans feeling they have to show their support for the ARL, as well as Wests.”
The Magpies were staunch supporters of the establishment ARL, while the Broncos were regarded in Sydney as instigators of the rebel Super League cause.
Lazarus said it didn’t do any credit to parents from the Wests’ region, to hear some of the language from kids at the ground, with 10-year-olds using the ‘f-word’ like troopers.
Brisbane won 28-18 to retain fourth spot on the premiership ladder, while Wests’ chances of making the finals all but disappeared with the loss.
Hooker, Kerrod Walters was one of Brisbane’s best, and emerged unscathed from a savage lifting tackle by prop, Glen Grief. Broncos’ coach, Wayne Bennett said Walters was playing his best football for two or three years. Brisbane lock, Terry Matterson lasted only four minutes. He was knocked out making a front-on tackle on Grief. Specialist winger, Wendell Sailor played in the pack and took a power of stopping.
Meanwhile, South Queensland Crushers beat North Queensland Cowboys 22-6 at Suncorp Stadium, after the Cowboys led 4-0 at halftime. Fijian winger, Filimoni Seru scored two tries, while lock, Chris McKenna was best for the triumphant home side.
Young centre, Paul Bowman scored the Cowboys’ try, which was set up by dual Welsh international, Johnathan Davies.
Davies, who had one more game to play before returning to England to play for Warrington, had been referred to as the ‘Welsh fizz’, as opposed to the Welsh whiz, by the ‘Townsville Bulletin’, given the Cowboys had won only one match in 10, with him on the field.
But Cowboys’ coach, Grant Bell said he was happy with Davies’ contribution.
“He has been terrific,” Bell said.
Bell, contracted to coach in the Super League until the end of 1997, had been offered the reserve grade job for 1996, with New Zealander, Graham Lowe already appointed head coach.
Formerly with Gold Coast Seagulls, Bell made it clear he was worried, that under Super League, the Cowboys would stray from their core aim – to develop local talent.
Former Wallaby, Anthony Herbert’s career looked to be over as he watched the Suncorp Stadium matches with his neck in a brace, admitting he could finish up in a wheel chair if he carried on. Another former Wallaby on the Crushers’ books, Garrick Morgan, did not play in the firsts or reserves, ruled out with a thigh injury. Morgan took part in a wheel chair charity race at halftime in first grade.
The Crushers beat the Cowboys 34-16 in reserve grade.
1 Glenn Lazarus attacks for the Broncos against Newcastle
2 Tom Raudonikis (left) and Terry Randall playing for New South Wales.